The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has summoned some officials of the Department of State Services, who were attached to Dame Patience Jonathan, the wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, for interrogation.
It was learnt on Friday that the invitation was part of investigations into the $15m frozen in four company accounts, which Patience had laid claim to.
Sources in the EFCC told our correspondent that a letter had been written to the DSS, requesting that the officials be allowed to honour the anti-graft agency’s invitation.
A detective told our correspondent that the commission had evidence that the DSS officials had, on several occasions, deposited money into some of the accounts in Skye Bank between 2013 and 2015.
The source said, “The $15m, which we have frozen in the four company accounts was not paid into the accounts at once. The money was paid into the accounts over a two-year period.
“However, we have evidence that it was DSS officials attached to Jonathan’s wife that deposited the money. We have gathered bank documents and we have invited them for interrogation.”
When asked why Patience had not been invited by the EFCC, even after she had openly laid claim to the money and dared the anti-graft agency to invite her for questioning, another source told our correspondent that it was because the commission was trying to build a solid case.
The source said, “We will not like to exchange words with her on the pages of newspapers. She says the money belongs to her but she has no evidence to show that she owns the money except the fact that she was given platinum cards to use in withdrawing money.
“Possessing an ATM card of an account that does not bear your name, signature or credentials does not give you the legal right over that account. We froze the accounts as part of investigations into a money laundering case.
“We are still investigating and we may invite her based on the outcome of investigations. We are still trying to build a solid case.”
The EFCC had stumbled on four company bank accounts in Skye Bank while investigating a former Special Adviser to Jonathan on Domestic Affairs, Waripamowei Dudafa.
The names of the four companies are: 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. The joint balance of the accounts, as of the time it was frozen, was said to be $15, 591,700.
The four companies standing trial before a Federal High Court in Lagos have since pleaded guilty to money laundering.
Jonathan’s wife has, however, accused the EFCC of hiring mercenaries as directors of the company in an attempt to steal her hard-earned money.
Patience, who has sued Skye Bank for N200m, also has another account under the name ‘Patience Ibifaka Jonathan’ in the bank, which had a balance of $5m. The account was, however, not frozen by the commission.
In the suit filed by Patience, while laying claim to the $15m, which is the subject of prosecution of Dudafa and others, one Sammie Somiari, who deposed to an affidavit on behalf of Patience, claimed that Dudafa helped Patience to open the bank accounts in 2010.
According to him, Dudafa had on March 22, 2010, brought two Skye Bank officials to meet Patience at home to open five accounts.
The deponent claimed that Patience was the sole signatory to the accounts.
in scandal He, however, claimed that after the five accounts were opened, Patience later discovered that Dudafa opened only one of the accounts in her name while the other four were opened in the names of companies belonging to Dudafa.
EFCC Finally Arrests Okorocha After Hours of Siege, Gives Reason
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has finally arrested the All Progressives Congress’ presidential candidate and former governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha after laying siege on his residence for hours.
Security operatives attached to the EFCC had surrounded the residence of the former governor earlier on Tuesday and before they finally arrested him late in the evening.
Investors King can confirm that lots of gunshots and tear gas canisters were fired to disperse angry supporters of the lawmaker who tried to resist the arrest before he was finally arrested.
According to an official of the anti-graft agency, Okorocha will be taken to the headquarters of the commission where he will be until May 30 when he will be arraigned in court.
In an official statement obtained by Investors King, signed by the EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, “the move to arrest Okorocha was followed by the refusal of the former governor to honour invitations after jumping the administrative bail earlier granted him by the Commission.
“EFCC had on January 24, 2022, filed a 17-count criminal charge bordering on diversion of public funds and properties to the tune of N2.9bn against Okorocha.
“The case was assigned to Honourable Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja but attempts to arraign Senator Okorocha was twice stalled owing to the absence of the ex-governor who evaded service of processes”.
EFCC added that at the last adjourned date, March 28th 2022, Justice Ekwo, before adjourning until May 30th, 2022, had warned that it was “the last adjournment I shall grant in this matter”.
“In the circumstances, the Commission is left with no option but to effect the arrest of Senator Okorocha and bring him to trial”, the statement had read.
Russia Halts Supply of Gas to Finland, Disagrees on Payment Mode
Russia’s majority state-owned multinational energy corporation, PJSC Gazprom, on Saturday, halted gas exports to one of its neighbouring countries, Finland, in the latest escalation of an energy payments dispute with Western nations.
A statement released by Finland’s gas system operator, Gasgrid said: “Gas imports through Imatra entry point have been stopped.
“Starting from today, during the upcoming summer season, Gasum will supply natural gas to its customers from other sources through the Balticconnector pipeline”.
Investors King gathered that majority of the European supply contracts are denominated in Euros or Dollars and Moscow already cut off gas to Bulgaria and Poland last month after they refused to comply with the new payment terms.
Imatra is the entry point for Russian gas into Finland and even though majority of the gas used in Finland comes from Russia, gas only accounts for about five per cent of its annual energy consumption.
Gazprom Export has requested that European countries pay for Russian gas supplies in Russian currency (roubles) because of sanctions imposed over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, but Finland refuses to do so.
Gazprom Export, on Friday, said: “flows would be cut because Gasum had not complied with the new Russian rules requiring settlement in roubles.”
Earlier on Friday, the Finnish state-owned gas wholesaler, Gasum had said the Russian Gazprom warned that flows would be halted from 04:00 GMT on Saturday morning.
The decision is coming at a time when Finland and Sweden announced that they were going to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) military alliance, a decision inspired by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Last week, the Finish Prime minister, Sanna Marin had said: “When we look at Russia, we see a very different kind of Russia today than we saw just a few months ago.
“Everything changed when Russia attacked Ukraine. And I personally think that we cannot trust anymore that there will be a peaceful future next to Russia.”
Marin noted that joining NATO is “an act of peace [so] that there will never again be war in Finland in the future”.
According to Swedish leader Andersson, “to ensure the safety of Swedish people, the best way forward is to join NATO together with Finland”.
The announcements were met with support from leaders in almost all NATO nations.
US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken told reporters that the United States would strongly support the NATO application by either Sweden or Finland should they choose to formally apply to the alliance.
Investors King recalls that Russia had in April, announced the suspension of gas supply to Poland and Bulgaria on the same payment disputes.
FG Resumes Conditional Cash Transfer Programme Across Six Local Govt. In Kebbi
The Federal Government has resumed the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programme in Kebbi State, commencing with a payment of N9.24bn to 76,107 CCT beneficiaries.
The National Coordinator of the programme, Hajiya Halima Shehu, made the announcement during a state visit to Governor Atiku Bagudu in Birnin Kebbi.
“As at now, payment to CCT beneficiaries is ongoing in the state. A total number of 76,107 beneficiaries across six local government areas of Bagudu, Danko, Wasagu, Dandi, Jega, and Shanga, will be receiving the payment. The beneficiaries will be receiving 26 months of payment circles, starting from January to February 2020.
“The payment will be in two batches of those 60,000 beneficiaries for four payment cycles, using the virtual account. The second batch has 70,107 beneficiaries for nine payment cycles through the debit cards. The total amount for the two batches in the state, according to Shehu, was over N9.24 billion.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria, in partnership with the World Bank in 2016, designed and developed a safety net programme for Nigeria under the platform of National Social Safety Net Programme (NASSP).
“One of the components of NASSP is the national conditional cash transfer office responsible for implementing the household uplifting- conditional cash transfer to the poor and the vulnerable households across the country,” she said.
Shehu commended the governor for providing her an audience and the chance to update him on the commencement of payments and the state’s successful implementation of the program.
Responding, Gov. Bagudu, represented by his Deputy, Alhaji Samaila Yombe-Dabai, thanked the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, headed by Hajiya Sadiya Umar-Farouq, for actualising the programme in the state.
“I assure you that the state government will do all it takes to support the success of the programme in the state.
“We are looking forward to getting more local governments to be involved in the cash transfer programme,” Bagudu said.
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