- $175m Found in Jonathan’s Wife’s Firm’s Bank Account
- EFCC in Manhunt for Two Suspects
Where is the $175,750,000 deposited in an account linked to former First lady Patience Jonathan?
This is the question the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is battling to answer.
The deposits were found in the account of Pluto Property and Investment Limited, one of the firms linked to Mrs. Jonathan.
The EFCC has launched a manhunt for two suspects, Toru Wonyeng Ibuomo and Friday Davies, linked to the curious deposits in four tranches within 14 months — between February 21, 2014 and April 1, 2015.
The anti-graft agency is probing how the cash was withdrawn from the domiciliary account with Skye Bank Plc without any trace of where it was diverted to.
The deposits are different from the $15.5million over which the ex-First Lady sued the EFCC, which placed No Debit Order on four accounts.
But the company is one of the four convicted on November 2 for laundering the $15.5million, which Mrs. Jonathan insists belongs to her.
The companies convicted by Justice Babs Kuewumi of the Federal High Court are Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited; Seagate Property Development & Investment Co. Limited; Trans Ocean Property and Investment Company Limited and Avalon Global Property Development Company Limited.
Barely two weeks after the conviction of the companies, the EFCC uncovered another $175, 750,000 deposits in the account of Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited.
The cash has, however, vanished from the bank.
EFCC detectives discovered that the account was opened on November 30, 2013 by Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited with number 2110002238.
The company was registered on January 29, 2013 with RC 1092722. The “strange” deposits came within 14 months.
The deposits are:
“The EFCC is probing how the deposits hit the company’s account barely two years after it was registered and without executing any major contract. We are suspecting that this is another slush account where government funds were diverted to,” a source close to the investigation told The Nation.
The source said: “All the deposits were in cash, a development which showed that it was a pure case of money laundering.
“On the 21st of February, the account was reported to have recorded a cash deposit of $46,500,000 by the General Manager of Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited , Toru Wonyeng Ibuomo.
“Three days after(24th of February, 2014), another cash deposit of $31,000,000 was made by the same General Manager.
“Friday Davies made a cash deposit of $49,250,000 into the same account. The last tranche of $49,000,000 was deposited by Davies on Apri 1, 2015.”
The source, who pleaded not to be named because of what he described as the “sensitivity” of the probe, claimed that the EFCC was on the trail of Ibuomo and Davies.
The source added: “We need the two depositors to assist in the ongoing investigation of the payments into the affected account.
“It is more curious when the bank details did not show evidence of withdrawals. Yet the whereabouts of the cash was unknown. We hope it is not a private banking arrangement to hide slush funds.”
The source confirmed that the EFCC would probe the likely roles of the former First Lady in operating the account of Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited.
“In a matter before the Federal High Court, the ex-First Lady admitted that one of her domiciliary accounts was bearing Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited.
“We are investigating this $175.750million deposits and the extent of the involvement or relationship of the ex-First Lady with the funds. This is a fresh case; it has nothing to do with the $15.5million frozen by the EFCC.”
In an affidavit filed before the Federal High Court in Lagos and deposed to by Sammie Somiari, a lawyer, on behalf of Mrs. Patience Jonathan, the deponent – claimed that the ex-First Lady had been using ATM credit cards of four companies.
Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited; Seagate Property Development & Investment Co. Limited; Trans Ocean Property and Investment Company Limited and Development Company Limited and Globus Integrated Service Limited.
The ex-First Lady alleged that the EFCC placed a “No Debit Order” on the four accounts in July in the course of probing Waripamo Dudafa, a former Special Adviser on Domestic Affairs to former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Somiari claimed that Dudafa helped Mrs Jonathan to open the four accounts which the EFCC froze.
Somiari added “that Mrs Jonathan complained about this to Honourable Dudafa, who at her prompting and instance promised to effect the change of the said accounts to the applicant’s name; and to effect this change, Honourable Dudafa brought the said bank manager, Mr. Dipo Oshodi, who claimed to have effected the changes. This was about April 2014.
“The bank official, Mr. Dipo Oshodi, as it would appear, did not effect or reflect the instruction of the applicant to change the said accounts to her name(s) despite repeated requests.
”However, since 2010 up until 2014 and thereafter, Mrs Jonathan had been using the cards on the said accounts and operating the said accounts without let or hindrance. Even in May, June and July 2016, the former First Lady travelled overseas for medical treatment and was using the said credit cards abroad up until July 7, 2016 or thereabouts when the cards stopped functioning.”
In the suit, Mrs. Jonathan urged the court to compel the EFCC to immediately vacate the “No Debit Order” placed on her accounts.
On November 2, Justice Babs Kuewumi convicted the four companies of laundering the $15.5m.
The companies had on September 15, 2016 pleaded guilty to laundering the money when they were arraigned by the EFCC along with Dudafa, a lawyer, Amajuoyi Briggs; and a banker, Adedamola Bolodeoku.
But Dudafa, Briggs and Bolodeoku pleaded not guilty.
Zabarmari Massacre: Buhari to Provide More Resources for the Nigerian Military
President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to provide more resources to the military in the aftermath of the Zabarmari massacre.
On Saturday, Boko Haram killed 43 people with around 70 people still missing in Zabarmari, a village in Borno State.
Reacting to the massacre, Buhari, through his official Twitter handle @MBuhari said “Nothing is more important than ensuring the security of lives and property of Nigerians. Everything is secondary when security is at stake. I will ensure that more resources are made available to the military and other security agencies to prosecute the war against terrorism.
“As we mourn all the lives lost in Zabarmari, the Armed Forces have been given the marching order to take the fight to the insurgents, not on a one-off, but on a continuous basis, until we root out the terrorists.
“We will intensify our cooperation with neighbouring countries on bilateral and multilateral levels, to ensure that there is no hiding place for the terrorists.
“As I noted earlier, the massacre by Boko Haram in Zabarmari is nothing short of senseless, barbaric, gruesome and cowardly. It reinforces our resolve to root out all forms of insurgency and insecurity not just in Borno but everywhere across Nigeria.”
Boko Haram Kills Rice Farmers in Borno State, Northeast Nigeria
Rice farmers were killed on Saturday morning in the Northeast Nigeria by suspected Islamist militants, Boko Haram, according to a Reuters Report.
The report also noted that 30 of the people killed were beheaded while over a dozen others were still missing.
However, resident of the Zambarmari Village where the attacks took place said a total of 70 people were feared dead.
Another resident and Amnesty International were quoted as saying at least 10 women were among those missing.
In another statement by Edward Kallon, the United Nations’ humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, it was armed men on motorcycles that led the brutal attack on civilians harvesting their fields.
“Armed men on motorcycles led a brutal attack on civilian men and women who were harvesting their fields,” Edward Kallon stated.
“At least 110 civilians were ruthlessly killed and many others were wounded in this attack,” he added, noting that several women are believed to have been kidnapped.
“The incident is the most violent direct attack against innocent civilians this year. I call for the perpetrators of this heinous and senseless act to be brought to justice,” Kallon said.
On Sunday, Governor Babaganan Umara Zulum of Borno State, who was at the burial told journalists that at least 70 farmers were killed on Saturday.
The Governor, therefore, called on the Federal Government to recruit more Civilian Joint Task Force members, Soldiers and civil defence fighters to protect farmers in the region.
He added that people are facing desperate choices.
“In one side, they stay at home they may be killed by hunger and starvation, on the other, they go out to their farmlands and risk getting killed by the insurgents,” he said.
In The Fight Against Corruption, No Individual is Bigger Than The State – Buhari
In response to the suspended acting EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, President Muhammed Buhari, lamented that the anti-corruption war becomes endangered “when persons entrusted with the responsibility of that magnitude become suspects themselves.”
Buhari, whose vision is to put an end to corruption in Nigeria, believed that every aspect of the nation’s life is enshrined in corruption and it’s of major concern when leaders of institutions saddled with the mandate to fight the menace are found in the waves of the corruption they claimed to be fighting.
This act is a great abomination not only because it strikes at the root but it also trivialises and undermines the anti-corruption crusade itself, the President explained.
He further said that in a bid to put an end to this great abomination, he had set up Ayo Salami Panel to unravel the mystery behind the mystique of Magu’s alleged involvement in corruption that his administration is fighting.
Buhari said that his administration is ready and willing to go all out in the fight against corruption, and no one is too big nor above the law to become a victim of anti-graft’s sledgehammer.
The president said, “However, the stark reality of widespread corruption becomes poignant when allegations of corruption touch on the leadership of an institution set up by law to coordinate and enforce all economic and financial crimes.
“It is an abomination that strikes at the root and undermines the government’s anti-corruption programme.
“It was in response to the serious allegations against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission that I set up a panel headed by the Honourable Justice Isa Ayo Salami, retired President of the Court of Appeal, via an Instrument dated 3rd July 2020 pursuant to the Tribunals of Inquiry Act (Cap T21, LFN, 2004).
“We recognise that there are more grounds to cover in the war against corruption, and we are prepared to go out to possess those lands by cutting off any stream that nourishes the seed of corruption and supports its growth.
“Let it be known that in the fight against corruption, no one is too big to tackle, as no individual is bigger than the Nigerian State!”
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