Monday, September 12

$34.1m: Nigerians demand Jonathan, wife’s prosecution

Nigerians have expressed outrage over the bid by former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, to reclaim the sum of $34.1 million (N13.31 billion) lodged in some bank accounts linked to her. They demanded the prosecution of the ex-first lady and her husband, former President Goodluck Jonathan, over the matter.

According to her, the fund, which were lodged in business accounts opened in the name of Dudafa belonged to her. Former governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, urged the EFCC to probe not just the former first lady, but also her husband, over the bank accounts, New Telegraph reports.

Musa, who spoke with New Telegraph yesterday, said that while the former first lady must be held accountable for the huge fund linked to her, the investigation cannot be complete if it was not extended to her husband. “She is not the only one; even her husband should be probed.

The investigation will have no meaning if Jonathan is not probed. How did she come about that type of money? Of course, she couldn’t have got that kind of money without her husband creating the opportunities,” he said. Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), the chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee on Corruption (PACC) told New Telegraph that Jonathan’s wife must explain how she acquired the money.

According to him, “the issue at hand is a very simple one. In a situation where somebody claims or appears to have such enormous assets, which are ways beyond the means of living of that person, in other words, way beyond what the person can appear to earn legitimately, the EFCC or ICPC are entitled to apply for freezing such funds.

And then the court can order that person to explain how he or she acquired that type of fortune. “In the absence of ability to establish that you are the owners of the fortune by showing how you earned such a huge sum, then it will be forfeited.”

Sagay stated that the wife of the former president must explain how she came about the money. His words: “I believe there is no reason why this principle should not be applied to this situation. So, Patience Jonathan has to come before the court to establish how she acquired $34.1 million. What was she doing, how was she earning it? She has to explain it.

I don’t know if former President Jonathan has anything to say about it, but anyone who interferes with it or claims anything in it will be put under the same burden to prove how they legitimately acquired it, but if you cannot establish that, then you will lose the asset.”

The first Bishop of Akure Diocese of Anglican Communion, Rev. Emmanuel Bolanle Gbonigi, told New Telegraph that the former first lady should be probed about how she came about the huge amount of money found in her account.

The octogenarian said if there is a strong suspicion that the money was acquired through fraudulent means, she should be prosecuted in the law court. Gbonigi said: “She should be probed to know how she came about the money and if there is a strong suspicion that she got the money through illegal means and that she did not work for the money, she should be made to face the wrath of the law. “The law is no respecter of anybody; the law does not respect anybody, including the president. Anybody that does contrary to the law should be probed and prosecuted.

“The fact that she is wife of former president does not make her above the law.”

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