Embattled ex-First Lady Patience Jonathan seems to have an hurdle to clear in her legal battle to reclaim the $22.3million in bank accounts linked to her.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has already placed restriction on the accounts in Skye Bank while she battles in court to have the restriction lifted.
An application has now been filed at the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) to establish whether she declared the seized cash as required by law at the exit of her husband in 2015.
Abuja-based lawyer, Barrister Osuagwu Ugochukwu who filed the application wants the bureau to come clean on whether ex-President Goodluck Jonathan declared the money to which his wife is now laying claims in his exit form in 2015.
Ugochukwu in a September 1 letter to the Chairman of CCB, Mr. Sam Saba, said he was acting in the interest of the public and in the exercise of his rights pursuant to Sections 1 and 4 of the Freedom of Information Act 2011.
His words “On May 19 2015, the CCB, in an advertorial by its Acting Secretary, Kolade Omoyola, in some newspapers had reminded ‘political office holders to declare their assets on assumption and vacation of office in accordance with Paragraph II of the 5th Schedule of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.’
“The Code of Conduct Bureau has asked President Goodluck Jonathan, his Vice, and 42 Ministers in his cabinet to declare their assets.
“The bureau reportedly issued the Completed Assets Declaration Forms to all concerned, with a 30-day deadline to return the completed forms before exiting office.
“Usually every public servant declares what the spouse earns and must have acquired as property or asset in their Spouses (public servant) declaration forms.
“This brings me to whether ex-president Goodluck Jonathan declared or completed his Exit Asset Declaration forms with the CCB.
“Only recently, as reported by Vanguard newspapers, former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, wrote a letter to the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) explicating that the $31.4 million connected to the financial fraud leveled against Mr. Waripamo Dudafa by EFCC was for the payment of the medical bills she incurred in London in 2013.
“Patience Jonathan claimed ownership of the $31.4 million in the affidavit before a Federal High Court in Lagos September 2016.
“The former first lady in her letter to the Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu by her lawyers, Granville Abibo (SAN) and Co enjoined the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Skye Bank to lift the restriction placed on the accounts.
“In the letter, Patience Jonathan admitted that the she is the sole signatory to the accounts and the accounts were card-based.
“We note also that First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan was Permanent Secretary in the Bayelsa State Civil Service. Governor Dickson had in July 2012, five months after his inauguration appointed Patience Jonathan, as one of the 17 new permanent secretaries in the state civil service.
“The question that agitates me are: Whether this $31.5 million or $20 Million as being claimed by ex-President Jonathan’s wife was declared in May 2015 in President Jonathan Exit forms with the CCB?
“Kindly avail me whether ex-President Jonathan did file his Asset Declaration Form with the Bureau upon exit from office in May 2015?
“Did Dame Patience Jonathan declare her assets upon exit upon appointment as permanent secretary in Bayelsa State and upon her exit from same position?”
A special investigation team to Port Harcourt (Rivers State) and Yenagoa (Bayelsa State), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had linked nine choice properties, two hotels and a plot of land under construction to the ex-First Lady.
A report of the EFCC investigative team had implicated the former First Lady.
The report of the investigative team said in part: “Based on the investigation so far carried out, it has revealed that the four fraudulent VISA Platinum USD Card accounts used by Mrs. Patience Goodluck Jonathan has a cumulative balance of $14,029.881.79 which has been swept Post No Debit Card category.
“Again, her personal account, different from the four fraudulent VISA Platinum USD Card accounts, bears the balance of $5,841,426.17.