Fresh Battle: EFCC VS Ex-Nigerian First Lady


Patience, the wife of former President
Goodluck Jonathan, has recovered her
N2bn hotel which was sealed off by the
Economic and Financial Crimes
Commission in June, The PUNCH has
learnt.

In June, the EFCC placed the red
inscriptions, ‘EFCC Under Investigation’ all
over the hotel which is located near
Setraco Construction Company, off the
Mabushi Kado Expressway.

However, when a correspondent visited
the five-storey building recently, the EFCC
inscriptions had been covered with patches
of grey paint. When a correspondent
knocked on the gate, three men who
attended to him said they acted on the
instruction of Mrs. Jonathan.

When asked if they had the right to enter
the building, one of them said, “Go and ask
the EFCC if they had the right to put their
sign all over the building in the first place.
If you want more information, go and ask
madam.”
The spokesman for the EFCC, Mr. Wilson
Uwujaren, said he did not know much
about the seizure of the building and thus
could not say if it had been returned to
Patience or not.
He said, “I have spoken to the appropriate
people but I was not able to get any
answer on the matter.”
A source at the EFCC said it was wrong of
Patience to have erased the EFCC
inscription from the building.

He said, “Sometimes when we are
investigating some politically exposed
persons, they immediately begin to sell off
their buildings in order to cover their
tracks and run away with the cash so that
is why we put EFCC signs on the buildings
so that innocent people will not buy those
buildings.
“As it is, she has removed the inscriptions
and can quickly sell it off.”
Although the hotel has not been officially
valued by the EFCC, some estate agents
within the community told our
correspondent that the property should be
worth about N2bn.

The property, which has not yet been
officially opened, has between 50 and 100
rooms, a gym, a fountain and other
amenities. In his reaction, Mrs. Jonathan’s
lawyer, Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), said he was
not aware of the seizure of the property.
Adedipe said if the hotel in question was
indeed seized through a court order, then
the removal of the EFCC inscriptions
would be of no effect. He, however,
boasted that all properties and funds
seized from the former first lady would be
returned to her soon.

The senior advocate revealed that Mrs.
Jonathan had dragged the EFCC before a
high court in Abuja and the matter would
soon come up for mention.
Adedipe said, “I am not aware of the
seizure of property. If the EFCC seal was
removed from the property, let them go
and put another one. In any case, we have
sued the EFCC for abuse of her human
rights and human dignity. The matter is
pending before the Federal High Court in
Abuja and everything has been included in
that suit.

“We are challenging all the seizures
because without prejudice to our case, Mrs.
Jonathan was neither a public officer nor a
contractor. So, the idea of harassing her
beats my imagination.

“I don’t see the basis for the EFCC’s
harassment of that woman and the case
wears a political toga because she was a
formidable element during the campaign.”
Patience first came under EFCC
investigation in May 2016 when the
commission arrested a former Special
Adviser to the President on Domestic
Affairs, Waripamowei Dudafa.

Mrs. Jonathan laid claim to about $15m
found in bank accounts allegedly belonging
Dudafa’s domestic servants. She
subsequently sued Skye Bank Plc and the
EFCC. The commission then went ahead to
freeze her personal account with a balance
of $5m.
The anti-graft agency had also frozen bank
accounts belonging to her relatives and
friends including business mogul, Bola
Shagaya.

Her husband, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, had
complained about the harassment of his
wife by the commission while Patience had
also written a petition to the House of
Representatives asking the lawmakers to
caution the EFCC and stop harassing her
and her relatives. 

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