Former First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, has described reports that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, traced N2.1 billion to her dead mother’s account as spurious, baseless and intended to mislead the public.
Mrs. Jonathan in a statement signed by her Chief Press Secretary, Belema Meshack-Hart, said: ‘’We wish to state categorically that the allegations are false and a grand design by EFCC to tarnish the image of the former first lady, Mrs Patience Jonathan.
“In their concocted report, they claimed that the former first lady is a sole signatory of Magel Resort Ltd, a hotel owned by her late mum, Mama Charity Oba. This is untrue as the former first lady had no dealings with the hotel until the demise of her late mum after which the hotel was handed over to her with the presentation of the death certificate of her mum.
“This can be confirmed by Zenith Bank. Mrs Patience Jonathan does not own Magel Resort Ltd neither did she open the hotel’s account with Zenith Bank. The late mother of the former first lady should be allowed to rest in peace.
“It was also alleged that N200 million IT contract was awarded to Magel Resort Ltd, this is a figment of the imagination of EFCC as no such contracts was awarded to the company.
“EFCC must stop this media trial and blackmail aimed at tarnishing the image of the former first lady and get down to the business of conducting proper investigations. Magel Resort Ltd is a very successful company with over 2000 staff, this is as a result of the hard work and relentless man hours put into it by the late mum of the former first lady who built the company from scratch.
“It is preposterous to say the least that N2.1 billion in its coffers as alleged by EFCC was fraudulently acquired. The EFCC also alleged that N17 billion has been traced to the former first lady, we believe this joke by the EFCC has been taken too far , as there is no available evidence to support this baseless claim.”
‘’To prove her innocence, the former first lady has filed N2 billion fundamental human rights suit against the EFCC at the Federal High Court in Abuja. For avoidance of doubt, Mrs Patience Jonathan does not have $12,831,173. domiciled in Diamond Bank as alleged by EFCC, anyone with proof should provide evidence and take advantage of the whistle blower policy, the issue of Skye Bank is in court and we believe in the integrity of the court to handle this case judiciously.
‘’A simple search at the Corporate Affairs Commission will confirm that the companies mentioned by EFCC, AM PM Global Network LTD, Pagmat Oil and Gas Limited, Flinchley Top Homes Limited do not belong to the former first lady, she is not a signatory in any of these companies, it is illegal for EFCC to continually freeze those accounts without any court order for almost two years, the EFCC must abide by the same law it intends to uphold.
‘’The former first lady has never had any dealing with Bureau de Change operators and anyone with counter claims should come out with proof, we want to believe the reporters of Punch and the Nation are biased as they have failed in conducting proper investigative journalism before making such stories up.
‘’The A. Aruera Reachout Foundation is a non-governmental, not-for-profit organization established in 2006 by Dame Patience Faka Jonathan, the Former First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Foundation has a medical unit which sponsors the treatment and surgery of children and some adults with heart conditions. The Foundation conducts Children’s Clinics periodically to diagnose the condition of each child needing assistance.
‘’During these clinics, Consultant Paediatric Cardiologists from the National Hospital Abuja, the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital and the Apollo Hospital Chinnai, India evaluate the health condition of the children.
‘’To date, over 700 children have benefited from the A. Aruera Reachout Foundation, this alone cost the foundation billions, it is not news that the logistics involved in the treatment of heart disease cost over N5million per child.
‘’This demonstrates the caring and maternal nature of Nigeria’s Former First Lady. God has used her as an instrument to positively touch the lives of some of our nation’s sick children, to make them healthy and happy through the appropriate medical intervention, it is now strange and sad that the EFCC will allege that such foundation only existed to launder funds.
‘’The many sick children that would have died but now live a happy life will stand as testament against the baseless propaganda and shameless allegation of the EFCC. It is worthy of note that the foundation which is duly registered by the CAC is free to receive donations from reputable individuals and organisations for its projects just like any other NGO.
‘’A. Aruera Reachout Foundation has never been involved in financial crimes or money laundry of any form, all directors of the NGO are men and women of integrity, highly competent and astute professionals, it is therefore untrue that the former first lady had her domestic servants as directors of the NGO.
‘’We understand that the EFCC is desperate to distract Nigerians from the current massive corruption bedevilling the nation, and as such has embarked on propaganda using the name of the former first Lady, this is callous and must stop, if the EFCC has such evidence they should present it to the Senate and house of representatives, one wonders why the EFCC has repeatedly refused to honour the invitation of the House of Representatives and the Senate, to state their case.’’