The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) told court on Thursday that the two Ajuja properties of the former First Lady Patience Jonathan, were seized because they are linked with money laundering issue.
Patience, the wife of the former President Goodluck Jonathan, had registered the properties in the name of Ariwabai Aruera Reachout Foundation/Women For Change and Development Initiative, a pet project initiated by the former first lady, are currently subjects of money laundering investigations.
The EFCC had through its lawyer, Mr. Benjamin Manji, issued an ex-parte motion urging the court to grant it the ownership of Plot No. 1960, Cadastral Zone A05 Maitama District and Plot No. 1758, Cadastral Zone A00, Business District in Abuja, belonging to Mrs. Jonathan’s foundation.
It prayed the court for an order of interim attachment/forfeiture of assets and properties of the foundation, as well as “an order stopping any disposal, conveyance, mortgage, lease, sale or alienation or otherwise of the property/asset”.
In a supporting affidavit that was deposed to by one Mr. Kolawole Mukaila, EFCC, told the court that it had sometimes in 2016, received via inteligence report to the office of its Executive Chairman, an alleged case of conspiracy and money laundering. Mukaila said he was a member of a special task force that was constituted to investigate alleged amounts of money laundered by Mrs. Jonathan, “into various accounts and properties purchased, which are disproportionate to her known source of income”.
According to him, “My team swung into action to conduct a descreet investigation by writing letters to Ecobank, Diamond bank, Corporate Affairs Commission and AGIS.
“That in the course of investigation, it was revealed from the responses from the C.A.C and Abuja Geographical Information Systems that the plots of land were allocated to Ariwabai Aruera Reach out Foundation belonging to the former first lady, Patience Jonathan and her allies.
“That investigation further reveals the accounts held by Ariwabai Aruera Reachout Foundation had the former first lady, Patience Jonathan as one of the trustees and signatories of the account. Copies of the response from Diamond bank and Ecobank are herebu attached and marked as Exhibit EFCC 2A- 2B respectively.
“That investigation also revealed that the plots of land were allocated in 2010 and the Certificate of Occupancy was issued in 2011.
“That all the above stated payment/transfers/purchases had no contract award backing it up whatsoever and as such was reasonably suspected to be fraudulent payments and an illegal dissipation of the nation’s resources”, he added.