More trouble for former first lady
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is believed to have traced two more assets to Patience Jonathan, Nigeria’s former first lady, putting the figure of properties being investigated at 15.
But the Nation reports that the list does not include six choice plots traced to Dame Patience as was revealed on Tuesday, September 12.
The report said detectives from the commission are looking into how the former first lady allegedly used proxyfirms to secure the six choice plots located at the Central Business District (CBD), Abuja, Wasa District, Idogwari District, Karsana and Mabushii properties in the FCT.
The plots were listed as:
1. 1758, Cadastral zone B06, Mabushi, which was allocated to Ariwabai Aurera Reachout Foundation in 2010;
2. 96, Cadastral Zone D05, Karsana, allocated to AM-PM Global Network Limited vide a letter of intent dated 31/05/2012;
3. 7109, Cadastral Zone E10, Wasa District, allocated to AM-PM Global Network Limited vide a letter of intent dated 27/03/2013;
4. 30, Cadasrtal Zone D03, Idogwari District (AM-PM Global Network Limited vide a letter of intent dated 23/10/2014);
5. 1758, Cadastral zone B06, Mabushi (Ariwabai Aurera Reachout Foundationvide a Right of Occupancy in 2010); and
6. 1350 Cadastral Zone A00, Central Business District, which was allocated to Ariwabai Aurera Reach Out Foundation in 2010.
The Certificate of Occupancy (CofO) was issued in 2011.The anti-graft agency said it suspects that the assets were bought through three firms:
Ariwabai Aurera Reachout Foundation;
Finchley Top Homes Limited;
and AM-PM Network Limited.
It is carrying out the probe through a special task force. Apart from this, the EFCC suspects that seven banks played major roles inacquisition of the assets and they are also being investigated.
“A Special Task Force is looking into how Mrs Jonathan allegedly laundered huge sums of money into the accounts of three companies.
“These shell firms were in turn used to acquire some plots of land and properties suspected to be proceeds of crime.
“We have already written to the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and seven banks linked with the plots of land and the two properties.
“Apart from the statements of account of the three companies, our team is in touch with Abuja Geographical Information Service(AGIS) for information about some properties linked to the affected firms,” the report quoted a top EFCC source as revealing.
“We discovered that on Plot No. 1758 Cadastral zone B06 Mabushi, which was allocated to Ariwabai Aurera Reachout Foundation in 2010 and C ofO issued in 2011, eight mighty buildings are being built. Most people believe it is proposed to be a hotel.“Also, Plot No. 1350, Cadastral Zone A00 in Central Business District, currently bears an eight-storey building still under construction.“The plot was allocated to Ariwabai Aurera Reachout Foundation in 2010 and C of O issued in 2011.“Inference may be drawn from the above, considering the fact that the suspect’s last known official position was permanent secretary in the Bayelsa state government.“Hence, there is no way such magnificent architectural edifices could have been built within a short space of time as it is the case with the properties in question.“It is evidently clear that it is a case of money laundering but there is need to do more to prove the predicate of the offence,”the source allegedly said adding that the agency is awaiting responses from the banks, CAC and AGIS.The source added that the EFCC was seeking a forfeiture of the assets.“This is particularly very important because attempt to mark the properties, by operatives, was resisted and even the portion that was successfully marked was later cleared by agents of the suspect,”the source said.