Posted by News Express | 20 September 2016 | 1,561 times
Nigeria’s former first lady Patience Jonathan on Monday said the recent freezing of some $15m which she claimed belongs to her amounted to ‘political persecution’ and threatened to sue the country’s anti-graft agency over the freeze.
In an open letter to Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Jonathan insisted she was neither told of any corruption probe against her nor was she invited to make any statement before accounts she claimed to be hers were frozen on suspicion of graft.
“It is (Mrs Jonathan’s) brief that up until the writing of this Open Letter, she has not received any formal invitation to appear before the Commission for questioning; whereas her accounts domiciled with Skye Bank Plc. have since been frozen by the Commission without recourse to her,” according to the letter written by her attorneys.
“It is also our client’s brief that the EFCC failed to obtain a court order as required by Section 34 of the EFCC Act before her accounts were frozen.
“Our Client has unfortunately come under the vice grip and stranglehold of the cabal of political jobbers who would not allow her concentrate on her private life in retirement.”
Jonathan claimed the actions of the agency violated the country’s law and her rights under the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights. She asked the agency to unfreeze the accounts within the next 14 days or risk being dragged before the African Commission on
Human and Peoples’ Rights in The Gambia.
Jonathan’s funds frozen by the anti-graft agency were found in accounts operated by firms belonging to those who were aides to her assistant, Waripamowei Dudafa.
All four firms last Friday pleaded guilty to charges of laundering the $15m on behalf of Jonathan's aide. However, the former first lady claimed the accounts belonged to her.
The agency, for its part, insists the money was a proceed of corrupt enrichment and that freezing it until purported owners proved otherwise is within its constitutional right.
The case is just one of the many corruption cases linked to the administration of former president, Goodluck Jonathan. (Anadolu Agency)
•Photo shows Patience Jonathan.
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