The woman in the eye of the storm over the frozen $15m at sky bank plc,former first lady, Patience Jonathan has denied allegations that her accounts were used for money laundering.
In a statement by Yemi Akinbode, her media aide, Mrs Jonathan said she was constrained to respond to “tissues of lies being churned out” by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The statement said: “That Mrs. Patience Ibifaka Jonathan is laying claim to ownership of a whopping sum of $31.7 million dollars fund recovered by EFCC is a complete fallacy. Mrs. Jonathan does not own and has never owned such amount of money. The reason for this lie is best known to the EFCC.
“That another sum of $20 million dollars has been traced to Mrs. Patience Ibifaka Jonathan, is again, another falsehood aimed at hoodwinking the public against Mrs. Jonathan.
“That a further sum of $5 million dollars has again being traced to another account of Mrs. Patience Jonathan. This is also a fallacy.
“That Mrs. Patience Jonathan opened accounts in the names of cooks, drivers and artisans. This is perhaps the biggest falsehood to the knowledge of EFCC.”
Mrs Jonathan questioned the authenticity of the representatives of the four companies who pleaded guilty to charges of money laundering.
Her lawyer, Gboyega Oyewole, said she would appeal the validity of the representatives of Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited, Seagate Property Development and Investment Company Limited, Trans Ocean Property and Investment Company Limited and Avalon Global Property Development Company Limited.
She alleged that the prosecution presented four unknown people as the companies’ representatives, all of whom he said did not show letters authorising them by their respective boards to represent them in the case.
“This is a clear evidence of the desperation of the prosecution to pull down the former First Lady and confiscate her hard-earned money,” the statement quoted Oyewole as saying.
“This is an irony. I was the one who went to court for the repatriation of my confiscated money when I realised that the EFCC and its co-travellers were playing politics with this issue after I had come out publicly to say that the said money belongs to me and that I have all evidence to prove the sources of my money.
“Up till this very moment, EFCC has refused to interrogate or invite me for questioning, while the agency has continued to detain Dudafa under heavy armed security guards.
“The biggest twist in court on Thursday (yesterday) was that the fourth to seventh defendants pleaded guilty to all the 15-count charges. It is clear that these unknown faces were agents of the EFCC, who have been stage-managed and tutored to come to court to complicate the case as a strategy to confiscate my money.”
Whereas the former first lady voiced her respect for the sanctity and integrity of the judiciary she however, expressed regret that her “well-earned image” was being maligned in the court of public opinion through the “tissues of lies being churned out by the EFCC in respect of the matter.”
Mrs Jonathan disclosed that she was not a director, shareholder, promoter or participant in any of the four companies that pleaded guilty, and that she was the sole signatory to all the accounts.
She equally denied receiving any monies from unknown sources into the accounts but that she directed a former Special Adviser on Domestic Affairs to President Jonathan Waripamo Dudafa to open the accounts for her, only for him to open them in his companies’ names rather than her name.
“She immediately complained about this anomaly to Hon. Dudafa and the bank officials, Demola Doledeoku and Dipo Oshodi came back to the villa with forms to change and convert the said accounts to the personal name of Mrs Jonathanthe the statement continued.