Apart from the alleged $15.5 million which Patience Jonathan, Nigeria’s former first lady, is allegedly laying claims to, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has allegedly traced 13 new assets to her.
Patience was the first lady under her husband, Goodluck Jonathan, and has been linked to issues related to acts of corruption by the EFCC. She has been fighting to clear her name.
Dame Patience Jonathan
The Nation reports that these assets for which she is being probed afresh are scattered in Port Harcourt, Rivers state and Yenagoa in Bayelsa state where her husband hails from.
The report listed some of the assests in Port Harcourt to include:
1. Former Customs Service officers mess
2. Two duplexes at 2/3 Bauchi Street
3. Landed property at Ambowei Street
4. Three Luxury apartments at Ambowei Street
5. Grand View Hotel on Airport Road
It also listed some of those in Yenagoa to include:
1. Two marble duplexes at Otioko GRA
2. Glass House on Sani Abacha Expressway
3. Akemfa Etie Plaza Melford Okilo Road
4. Aridolf Resort on Sani Abacha Expressway
According to the report, the anti-graft agency has now obtained her service records from the government of Bayelsa state where she served as permanent secretary while being the country’s first lady.
This is to screen her salary and emoluments as a retired permanent secretary to determine if her earnings could match the 13 assets traced to her.
The EFCC is however said to be facing a challenge from the Rivers state government which has refused to make documents available for the purpose of investigation into the assets allegedly in the state.
The commission is also facing similar challenge getting documents that would enable it look into the records of Deziani Alison-Madueke, the former minister of Petroleum.
The report claimed that the agency is making up its mind to arrest officials of the Rivers state ministry of Lands and Survey for blocking access to the documents.
According to the report, a source in the agency said: “This agency has retrieved the original service records of the ex-First Lady from Bayelsa State. Preliminary analysis of her records revealed a lot of discrepancies including issues regarding special promotions given to her which were faulted even by the Office of the Head of Service.
“More importantly, from her records, especially her pay packet of N700, 000, there is nowhere she earned as much as $1million not to talk of over $15million, which she is claiming ownership of.
“We have to go through her records and pay slips to prove that the $15million in question was undeserved and should be seized by the court. All her official estacodes and emoluments were not up to the amount being claimed.
“As far as we are concerned, she has questions to answer in line with Section 7 of the EFCC Act.”
“If she did receive salaries within the eight-month period without any refund, she might be liable for another offence. A letter acknowledging her voluntary retirement was specific that any extra salary after notice of retirement ought to be paid.”
She voluntarily retired as permanent secretary and this was accepted on 12 May, 2015 in a letter signed by Mrs Biobelemoye Charles-Onyema, the permanent secretary of the Civil Service Commission.
Another source at the EFCC was quoted as saying: “We have officially written the ministry of Lands and Survey for details on some of the assets of the ex-first lady and a former minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke in Port Harcourt but they have not been forthcoming.
“Up till now, they have not made relevant documents available to the EFCC. It is a kind of blocking of access to these land titles which are vital to our investigation. We don’t know whether or not they are acting on orders from above.
“We are hopeful that the officials will cooperate with us. But it is certainly a punishable offence to obstruct investigation by EFCC and other anti-crime agencies.”