Connect with us

Government

$15m in My Accounts For Medical Bills, Others, Says Patience

Published

on

accounts

Dame Patience Jonathan, the wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, said she was using her $15m, which was frozen in four companies’ accounts, to settle medical bills while she was out of the country.

She, therefore, urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and Skye Bank to lift the restriction on the accounts.

Patience said this in a letter with reference number GA/Abibo/00226/2016, written by her lawyers, Granville Abibo (SAN) and Co, which was addressed to the Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu.

The four accounts belonged to the following companies: Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited, Seagate Property Development and Investment Company Limited, Trans Ocean Property and Investment Company Limited and Globus Integrated Service Limited.

A houseboy, a driver and other domestic workers of a former Special Adviser on Domestic Affairs to Jonathan, Waripamowei Dudafa, were named as directors, but Patience’s $15m was lodged in the accounts and she was given a platinum card and exclusive access to the accounts.

The letter read in part, “It is noteworthy to emphasise that the said accounts, which were in US dollar denomination, were card-based accounts and our client is the sole signatory to these accounts.

“However, our client has been operating the said accounts using the cards for her medical bill payments and purchases for her private purposes without any let or hindrance.

“Our client was therefore surprised when the said cards stop functioning on July 7, 2016, or thereabout. Our client immediately, thereupon, contacted Skye Bank Plc through our solicitors.

‘‘It was only then that the bank officials informed our client that the said accounts were placed on a ‘No Debit Order’ following investigations and instruction from your commission and this is without notice to our client by either the bank or the commission.

“It is in the light of the foregoing that we urge you to use your good offices to vacate the ‘No Debit/Freezing Order’ placed on the said accounts.”

Patience, who described herself as a law-abiding citizen, said despite all the explanations she offered to the Lagos Zonal Office of the EFCC, the detectives in charge refused to heed her request.

She, therefore, urged Magu to intervene immediately.

She added, “Despite the foregoing, our client, who is a law-abiding citizen, has watched with surprise how efforts are being made surreptitiously to indirectly harass or harangue her and short-change her of her personal funds in breach of her fundamental human rights.

“We urge you sir, to kindly intervene to stop the untoward and wrongful actions of your officials to embarrass, inconvenience and short-change our client.”

However, a detective in the EFCC said, “We got a relevant court order to freeze those accounts and we have evidence which we will present in court on Friday.

“We did not know that the accounts belonged to Patience Jonathan at the time we froze them. The accounts do not bear her name neither do they carry her BVN (Bank Verification Number). So, how can she accuse us of harassment?

“She has a separate account in Skye Bank with the title ‘Patience Jonathan’, which has a balance of $5m. If she claims she needs money for medical treatment, then the $5m should be alright.”

In a thanksgiving service held at the State House chapel in Abuja on February 18, 2013, Patience had said she underwent seven surgical operations within one month in Germany, adding that the doctors had given up hope on her survival.

She had stated, “I remember when Chief Obasanjo was the President of the country, I was close to his late wife, Stella. We worshiped together in this chapel. It was a painful moment for me that time when she (Stella) died and her corpse was brought here.

“That was how my corpse would have been brought here.

‘‘It was not an easy experience for me. I actually died, I passed out for more than a week. My intestine and tummy were opened.

“I am not Lazarus but my experience was similar to his. My doctors said all hope was lost.’’

FG not persecuting Jonathan, Patience –Mohammed

Meanwhile, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said the Federal Government, under President Muhammadu Buhari, is not persecuting Jonathan and his wife, Patience.

Speaking in an interview with journalists in Oro, Kwara State, on Tuesday, Mohammed said it would be wrong to submit that the Federal Government was probing Jonathan or Patience.

He said, “If you look at the history of Mrs. Patience Jonathan’s issue, I think she was the one that came out to claim that the money found in the accounts of one of the aides to the former President, her husband, belonged to her.

“It was not the EFCC that claimed so. She claimed that the money that the guy was being prosecuted for belonged to her. It was only then they later found an extra $5m in another account.

“It is not as if anybody has gone out to probe Mrs. Jonathan directly or indirectly. Rather Mrs. Jonathan was the one that said ‘that money for which you are accusing Mr. X actually belongs to me. So, you cannot start talking of prosecution or persecution.”

The minister said the Federal Government was concerned about the current national economic recession and had initiated measures to address it.

He stated that the current campaign of the Federal Government, ‘‘Change begins with me,’’ was not only for the people but also for the leaders.

Mohammed also said it was incorrect to accuse Buhari’s government of being partisan, selective and vindictive in its anti-corruption war.

He said Buhari would also not spare any APC member accused or guilty of corruption.

He said, “People have always said that no APC politician had been investigated. The question is ‘those who are those being prosecuted today, for what reasons are they being prosecuted?

“It is wrong to say that the government is only investigating and prosecuting PDP members. We have not even started investigating the oil and gas industry. It is not about going out to investigate PDP. No!

‘‘We lost about 15,000 people. Nobody can, in honesty, accuse the FG of being one sided.’’

Patience must explain her source of wealth, says CACOL

Also, a civil society organisation, Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, has said Patience must explain how she came about the funds with which she reportedly built a N10bn hotel in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.

The hotel, which is known as Aridolf Resort Wellness and Spa, Yenagoa, was inaugurated by Patience in April 2015, barely a month before the end of her husband’s tenure.

But CACOL, which recalled in a statement on Tuesday that Patience was only a Permanent Secretary in Bayelsa State at a time, said the ex-President’s wife must be made to explain the source of her wealth.

The statement by the group’s acting Media Officer, Abiodun Rabiu, quoted the Executive Chairman of CACOL, Debo Adeniran, as saying the EFCC needed no further petition to invite Patience for questioning.

CACOL asked, “How did she (Patience) get the money and even the ones stacked in her accounts? That is what we, Nigerians, want to know. As far as we can understand, she was just a civil servant. So, as a civil servant, how did she manage to acquire such a luxurious property that is worth that amount, because she would have earned less than 10 per cent of the amount even if she had been a Director or Permanent Secretary in the Bayelsa State Civil Service all of the entire years she has spent on earth?”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Government

COVID-19 Vaccine: African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) to Purchase 270 Million Doses for Nigeria, Other African Nations

Published

on

African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) Approves $2 Billion for the Purchase of 270 million Doses for African Nations

African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) said it has approved $2 billion for the purchase of 270 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for African nations, including Nigeria.

Prof. Benedict Oramah, the President of the Bank, disclosed this at a virtual Africa Soft Power Series held on Tuesday.

He, however, stated that the lender is looking to raise more funds for the COVID-19 vaccines’ acquisition.

He said: “The African Union knows that unless you put the virus away, your economy can’t come back. If Africa didn’t do anything, it would become a COVID-19 continent when other parts of the world have already moved on.
“Recall that it took seven years during the heat of HIV for them to come to Africa after 12 million people had died.

“With the assistance of the AU, we were able to get 270 million vaccines and financing need of about $2 billion. Afreximbank then went ahead to secure the $2 billion. But that money for the 270 million doses could only add 15 per cent to the 20 per cent that Covax was bringing.

He added that this is not the time to wait for handouts or free vaccines as other countries will naturally sort themselves out before African nations.

Continue Reading

Government

China Calls for Better China-U.S. Relations

Published

on

China Calls for China-U.S. Relations

Senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi said on Monday the United States and China could work together on issues like climate change and the coronavirus pandemic if they repaired their damaged bilateral relationship.

Wang, a Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, said Beijing stood ready to reopen constructive dialogue with Washington after relations between the two countries sank to their lowest in decades under former president Donald Trump.

Wang called on Washington to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and abandon what he said was an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector, steps he said would create the “necessary conditions” for cooperation.

Before Wang spoke at a forum sponsored by the foreign ministry, officials played footage of the “ping-pong diplomacy” of 1972 when an exchange of table tennis players cleared the way for then U.S. President Richard Nixon to visit China.

Wang, a Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, said Beijing stood ready to reopen constructive dialogue with Washington after relations between the two countries sank to their lowest in decades under former president Donald Trump.

Wang called on Washington to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and abandon what he said was an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector, steps he said would create the “necessary conditions” for cooperation.

Before Wang spoke at a forum sponsored by the foreign ministry, officials played footage of the “ping-pong diplomacy” of 1972 when an exchange of table tennis players cleared the way for then U.S. President Richard Nixon to visit China.

Wang urged Washington to respect China’s core interests, stop “smearing” the ruling Communist Party, stop interfering in Beijing’s internal affairs and stop “conniving” with separatist forces for Taiwan’s independence.

“Over the past few years, the United States basically cut off bilateral dialogue at all levels,” Wang said in prepared remarks translated into English.

“We stand ready to have candid communication with the U.S. side, and engage in dialogues aimed at solving problems.”

Wang pointed to a recent call between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden as a positive step.

Washington and Beijing have clashed on multiple fronts including trade, accusations of human rights crimes against the Uighur Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region and Beijing’s territorial claims in the resources-rich South China Sea.

The Biden administration has, however, signalled it will maintain pressure on Beijing. Biden has voiced concern about Beijing’s “coercive and unfair” trade practices and endorsed of a Trump administration determination that China has committed genocide in Xinjiang.

Continue Reading

Government

U.S. Supreme Court Allows Release of Trump Tax Returns

Published

on

President Trump Signs Executive Order In Oval Office Of The White House

U.S. Supreme Court Allows Release of Trump Tax Returns

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday paved the way for a New York City prosecutor to obtain former President Donald Trump’s tax returns and other financial records as part of a criminal investigation, a blow to his quest to conceal details of his finances.

The justices without comment rebuffed Trump’s request to put on hold an Oct. 7 lower court ruling directing the former Republican president’s longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA, to comply with a subpoena to turn over the materials to a grand jury convened by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, a Democrat.

“The work continues,” Vance said in a statement issued after the court’s action.

Vance had previously said in a letter to Trump’s lawyers that his office would be free to immediately enforce the subpoena if the justices rejected Trump’s request.

A lawyer for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Supreme Court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority included three Trump appointees, had already ruled once in the dispute, last July rejecting Trump’s broad argument that he was immune from criminal probes as a sitting president.

Unlike all other recent U.S. presidents, Trump refused during his four years in office to make his tax returns public. The data could provide details on his wealth and the activities of his family real-estate company, the Trump Organization.

Trump, who left office on Jan. 20 after being defeated in his Nov. 3 re-election bid by Democrat Joe Biden, continues to face an array of legal issues concerning his personal and business conduct.

Vance issued a subpoena to Mazars in August 2019 seeking Trump’s corporate and personal tax returns from 2011 to 2018. Trump’s lawyers sued to block the subpoena, arguing that as a sitting president, Trump had absolute immunity from state criminal investigations.

The Supreme Court in its July ruling rejected those arguments but said Trump could raise other objections to the subpoena. Trump’s lawyers then argued before lower courts that the subpoena was overly broad and amounted to political harassment, but U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in August and the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in October rejected those claims.

Vance’s investigation, which began more than two years ago, had focused on hush money payments that the president’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen made before the 2016 election to two women – adult-film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal – who said they had sexual encounters with Trump.

In recent court filings, Vance has suggested that the probe is now broader and could focus on potential bank, tax and insurance fraud, as well as falsification of business records.

In separate litigation, the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives was seeking to subpoena similar records. The Supreme Court in July sent that matter back to lower courts for further review.

Continue Reading

Trending