The Economic and Financial Crimes
Commission has arrested four domestic servants, including a driver and a
houseboy, whose names were used to open bank accounts for Mrs Dame Patience
Jonathan, the wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Sources within the anti-graft
agency said on Sunday that the companies’ accounts were opened at Skye Bank.
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 four companies’ accounts, which
have since been frozen by the EFCC, have a balance of about $15m while another
account, which bears Patience Jonathan’s name, has $5m.
Mr. Sammie Somiari, who deposed to
an affidavit on behalf of the ex-President’s wife, said the former First Lady
was the owner of the money in the accounts.
She had revealed that she gave
millions of dollars to the then Special Adviser to the President on Domestic
Affairs, Waripamowei Dudafa, to open accounts for her.
Somiari, however, claimed that
Dudafa opened five accounts for Patience and that only one of the accounts was
in her name, while the other four were opened in the names of companies
belonging to Dudafa.
A detective at the EFCC, however,
revealed that Dudafa used his domestic servants’ names to open the four other
accounts and then deposited the money into the accounts.
The operative added, “We were
investigating Dudafa when we stumbled on those four companies’ domiciliary
accounts opened at Skye Bank with a balance of about $15m. On further
investigation, we were able to identify the directors of the companies.
“When we detained the directors, we
found out that they were Dudafa’s domestic servants. One of them was a houseboy
while another one was a driver. Their photographs were used in opening the
accounts and their signatures were forged.
“We found out that these domestic
servants were completely innocent because they had no access to the accounts.
We have since released them. The sole signatory to the accounts was Patience
Jonathan and she was issued with a special card, which is accepted worldwide.
She has a separate account, which was opened in her name and has a balance of
The detective said a lawyer,
Amajuoyi Briggs, who allegedly helped Dudafa to perpetrate the fraud, would
also be arraigned.
It was learnt that two Skye Bank
executives, Demola Bolodeoku and Dipo Oshodi, who helped Dudafa to open the
accounts on March 22, 2010, were also being investigated.
The detective added, “This is a
clear case of fraud and there is no way the bank officials will say they did
not know what was going on. They are under investigation and those found
culpable will be arraigned.”
The EFCC operative said he could
not immediately confirm if the transaction was reported to the Nigeria
Financial Intelligence Unit.
He explained that the commission
had discovered a trend which politicians used in laundering and concealing
funds, saying it was becoming more rampant due to the operation of the Bank
Verification Number which links all accounts owned by an individual.
He added, “What we have noticed is
that in order to conceal funds, what politicians and top civil servants do is
to open bank accounts in the name of family or friends and then make themselves
the sole signatory to the account.