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Money laundering: Why FG seized Patience Jonathan’s N1.4b

By Soni Daniel, Abuja

THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has secured an interim forfeiture of the sum of N1.4 billion found in the accounts said to belong to former first lady, Patience Jonathan in a commercial bank.

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Two major lodgements were made to the bank accounts on May 20th and 25th in 2015, just before the end of the administration of her husband, Goodluck Jonathan.

The forfeiture order was handed down by a Kano Federal High Court presided over by Justice A. Lewis-Allagoa consequent upon a motion ex-parte filed by the Commission seeking the interim seizure  of the money, which was found in the account of a company known as Magel Resort Limited, traced to the former First Lady.

The commission told the court that it got an intel that a bank account domiciled in the said commercial bank had a huge sum of money that was not being used by anybody.

Upon receipt of the intelligence, the EFCC swung into action by conducting preliminary investigation, which revealed that Patience and some relatives of her husband were directors of the Company. According to court documents, those named as directors in the firm are: Oba Oba Tamunotonye, Goodluck Jonathan Aruera, Goodluck Jonathan Ariwabai and Esther Fynface.

The agency said that in trying to trace the origin of the money, it was discovered that N500,000 was deposited on the 20th of May, 2015 by Fynface, who is alleged to be in charge of the company, while N1 billion was later transferred in two tranches on the 25th May, 2015 from PAGMAT OIL AND GAS NIGERIA LIMITED, a company not registered with the Federal Government owned Corporate Affairs Commission.

Ruling on the motion, Justice A. Lewis-Allagoa held that: “An interim forfeiture order is granted to the Federal Government in the sum of N1.4 billion in the Bank account of the 1st respondent Magel Resort Limited 4011019546 which is maintained with 2nd respondent Fidelity Bank Plc.

 

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