The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has uncovered fresh evidence against one Esther Oba, an alleged front and cousin of Dame Patience Jonathan, the wife of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan. Oba recently came under investigation when she was identified as one of the owners of N9bn accounts bearing the signatures of Patience. Sources told our correspondent that Oba, whom the EFCC has put on its watch list, allegedly possessed two valid Nigerian passports which bear two different signatures.
A source in EFCC said , After we froze Patience Jonathan’s account few month ago, we continued to investigate the former first lady, we the stumbled on some accounts which did not bear her name but had her signature.
“We realized that one Esther Oba, who we believe is Patience’s cousin, had been operating some accounts for her. The accounts had Oba’s BVN but carried Patience’s signature. So we began investigating Oba. “We found out that Oba used two different passports in operating some of the accounts. The two passports are valid but carry different signatures. We immediately wrote a letter to the Nigeria Immigration Service to seek clarification. “Immigration confirmed that the two passports are indeed valid. They bear the same name, picture and details but different signatures.
So, they have also launched an investigation into the matter. Obviously this is a case of fraud.” The source told our correspondent that all attempts to locate Oba had proved abortive. He added that the EFCC had already hired some forensic experts to study the signatures. He said, “Oba’s signature and that of Patience look exactly alike. But in order to build a solid case, we are hiring some forensic experts to study the signatures and give us a report which we would be able to present in court.” He added that due to the existence of Bank Verication Number, it had become difcult for politically-exposed persons to keep huge sums of money in their accounts.
The detective explained that such people opened accounts with other people’s identities but used their own signatures on the accounts so that only “the sponsors” would have access to the accounts. Justice Mojisola Olatoregun-Ishola had recently granted an order freezing the bank accounts allegedly belonging to Patience with over N9bn lodged in them. While one of the former President’s wife’s accounts, domiciled in Skye Bank Plc, has a balance of $5,316.66, ve other company accounts and one belonging to Oba were also frozen .
The companies are Finchley Top Homes Limited, Aribawa Aruera Reachout Foundation, Magel Resort Limited, AM-PM Global Network Limited, Pansy Oil and Gas Limited. Apart from the recently frozen accounts, the EFCC had, in July, frozen four company accounts with a balance of $15m. Patience had informed a Federal High Court in Lagos that the money in the accounts belonged to her even though the accounts did not carry her name or BVN. Some of the accounts were said to be operated by some domestic servants in the employ of a former Special Adviser to ex-President Jonathan on Domestic Affairs, Waripamowei Dudafa.
The 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 companies had, on September 15, 2016, pleaded guilty to money laundering when they were arraigned before Justice Babs Kewumi of a Federal High Court in Lagos.