Former first lady Patience Jonathan has urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to let her late mother, Charity Oba, who has been linked to a property under investigation, rest in peace.
She also denied claims by the EFCC that the N 2.1 billion Magel Resort Ltd property was owned by her. She said the hotel was only ‘handed over’ to her after the demise of her mother.
Mrs. Jonathan, who is under investigation, made the call on Thursday via a statement issued by her Chief Press Secretary, Belema Meshack-Hart. She also dismissed another allegation by the EFCC of a N200 million IT contract awarded to Magel Resort LTD as a figment of the imagination.
The statement read in part: “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 were 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.”
Mrs. Jonathan said that the resort is a company that “has become successful as a result of the hard work and relentless man hours put into it by her late mother.” She added that the EFCC’s allegation of another N17 billion being traced to her, ”is a joke that the EFCC has been taken too far as there is no available evidence to support this baseless claim.”
Mrs. Jonathan also rejected the ownership of a $12 million account in Diamond Bank, which the EFCC allegedly traced to her as well as ownership of three other companies.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Mrs. Patience Jonathan does not have $12,831,173 domiciled in Diamond Bank as alleged by the EFCC. Anyone with proof should provide evidence and take advantage of the whistle-blower policy.
“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.”
Mrs. Jonathan also spoke about her foundation, Aruera Reachout Foundation, claiming that allegations by the EFCC that she used her foundation to launder stolen funds is false. She said the foundation is a non-governmental, not-for-profit organisation that has spent over N3.5 billion for the treatment of 700 children and adults with heart-related ailments.
The former first lady explained that the foundation had a medical unit which sponsors the treatment and surgery of children and adults with heart conditions. She added that consultants from the National Hospital Abuja, the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital and the Apollo Hospital Chinnai, India are usually invited to evaluate the health condition of the children there.
“Till date, over 700 children have benefited from the 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 N5 million 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 who would have died but now live a happy life will stand as a 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.”
Efforts to get the reaction of the spokesperson of EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren through telephone was unsuccessful.
Mrs. Jonathan recently approached the nation’s parliament to caution the operatives of the agency from harassing her or her firms. She has also been reported to have appealed directly to President Muhammadu Buhari to wade into her travails saying subtly that while her husband, former President Goodluck was in power, ”he never harassed Mr. Buhari’s wife.”