A former First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, yesterday denied using her late mother’s firm’s account to launder N2.114 billion.
According to her, the company, Magel Resort Limited, was not awarded a N200m IT contract by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
She pleaded with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to allow her late mum Madam Charity Oba to rest in peace.
She said the EFCC was engaging in sheer blackmail to tarnish her image.
On Aruera Reachout Foundation, she said over 700 children had benefited from it, with billions of Naira spent
The ex-First Lady made the clarifications in a statement through her Chief Press Secretary Belema Meshack-Hart.
The statement said: “Our attention has been drawn to an article by Punch and the Nation on the 11th of October 2017, alleging that EFCC has traced N2.1bn to the account of Patience’s dead mother. These allegations are spurious, baseless and intended to mislead the public.
“We wish to state categorically that, the allegations are false and a grand design by EFCC to tarnish the image of the former first lady, Mrs Patience Jonathan.
“In their concocted report they claimed that the former first lady is a sole signatory of Magel Resort Limited, a Hotel owned by her late mum Mama Charity Oba. This is untrue as the former first lady had no dealings with the Hotel until the demise of her late mum after which the Hotel was handed over to her with the presentation of the death certificate of her mum.
“The late mother of the former first lady should be allowed to rest in peace.
“It was also alleged that N200m IT contract was awarded to Magel Resort Limited , this is a figment of the imagination of EFCC as no such contract was awarded to the company. EFCC must stop this media trial and blackmail aimed at tarnishing the image of the former first Lady and get down to the business of conducting proper investigations.
“Magel Resort Limited is a very successful company with over 2,000 staff, this is as a result of the hard work and relentless man hours put into it by the late mum of the former first lady who built the company from scratch. It is preposterous to say the least that N2.1bn in its coffers as alleged by EFCC was fraudulently acquired.
“The EFCC also alleges that N17billion has been traced to the former first lady, we believe this joke by the EFCC has been taken too far, as there is no available evidence to support this baseless claim.
“To prove her innocence the former first lady has filed N2bn fundamental human rights suit against the EFCC at the Federal High Court in Abuja.”
The ex-First Lady also faulted EFCC’s claim that she has $12.8million in a domiciliary account in Diamond Bank.
The statement added: “For avoidance of doubt Mrs Patience Jonathan does not have $12,831,173. domiciled in Diamond bank as alleged by EFCC. Anyone with proof should provide evidence and take advantage of the whistle blower policy. The issue of Skye Bank is in court and we believe in the integrity of the court to handle this case judiciously.
“The former first lady has never had any dealing with Bureau de Change operators and anyone with counter claims should come out with proof.
The statement said: “The A. Aruera Reachout Foundation is a non-governmental, not-for-profit organisation established in 2006 by Dame Patience Faka Jonathan, the Former First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The Foundation has a medical unit which sponsors the treatment and surgery of children and some adults with heart conditions.
“To date, over 700 children have benefited from the A. Aruera Reachout Foundation, this alone cost the foundation billions, it is not news that the logistics involved in the treatment of heart disease cost over N5million per child. This demonstrates the caring and maternal nature of Nigeria’s Former First Lady.
“ Aruera Reachout Foundation has never been involved in financial crimes or money laundry of any form. All the directors of the NGO are men and women of integrity, highly competent and astute professionals. It is therefore untrue that the former first lady had her domestic servants as directors of the NGO.
“We understand that the EFCC is desperate to distract Nigerians from the current massive corruption bedevilling the nation, and as such has embarked on propaganda using the name of the former first Lady. This is callous and must stop. If the EFCC has such evidence they should present it to the Senate and House of representatives.
“One wonders why the EFCC has repeatedly refused to honour the invitation of the House of Representatives and the Senate, to state their case.”