The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is believed to have traced two more assets to Patience Jonathan, Nigeria’s former first lady, putting the figure of properties being investigated at 15.
But the Nation reports that the list does not include six choice plots traced to Dame Patience as was revealed on Tuesday, September 12.
The report said detectives from the commission are looking into how the former first lady allegedly used proxy firms to secure the six choice plots located at the Central Business District (CBD), Abuja, Wasa District, Idogwari District, Karsana and Mabushi in the FCT.
6. 1350 Cadastral Zone A00, Central Business District, which was allocated to Ariwabai Aurera Reach Out Foundation in 2010. The Certificate of Occupancy (CofO) was issued in 2011.
The anti-graft agency said it suspects that the assets were bought through three firms: Ariwabai Aurera Reachout Foundation; Finchley Top Homes Limited; and AM-PM Network Limited. It is carrying out the probe through a special task force.
Apart from this, the EFCC suspects that seven banks played major roles in acquisition of the assets and they are also being investigated.
“A Special Task Force is looking into how Mrs Jonathan allegedly laundered huge sums of money into the accounts of three companies.
“These shell firms were in turn used to acquire some plots of land and properties suspected to be proceeds of crime.
“We have already written to the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and seven banks linked with the plots of land and the two properties.
“Apart from the statements of account of the three companies, our team is in touch with Abuja Geographical Information Service(AGIS) for information about some properties linked to the affected firms,” the report quoted a top EFCC source as revealing.
“We discovered that on Plot No. 1758 Cadastral zone B06 Mabushi, which was allocated to Ariwabai Aurera Reachout Foundation in 2010 and C of O issued in 2011, eight mighty buildings are being built. Most people believe it is proposed to be a hotel.
“Also, Plot No. 1350, Cadastral Zone A00 in Central Business District, currently bears an eight-storey building still under construction.
“The plot was allocated to Ariwabai Aurera Reachout Foundation in 2010 and C of O issued in 2011.
“Inference may be drawn from the above, considering the fact that the suspect’s last known official position was permanent secretary in the Bayelsa state government.
“Hence, there is no way such magnificent architectural edifices could have been built within a short space of time as it is the case with the properties in question.
“It is evidently clear that it is a case of money laundering but there is need to do more to prove the predicate of the offence,” the source allegedly said adding that the agency is awaiting responses from the banks, CAC and AGIS.
The source added that the EFCC was seeking a forfeiture of the assets.
“This is particularly very important because attempt to mark the properties, by operatives, was resisted and even the portion that was successfully marked was later cleared by agents of the suspect,” the source said.
Currently, the 15 assets allegedly traced to the former first lady in Port Harcourt are former Customs Service officers mess; two duplexes at 2/3 Bauchi Street; landed property with blocks at Ambowei Street; three Luxury apartments of four-bedroom each at Ambowei Street; and Grand View Hotel along airport road.
In Yenagoa, Bayelsa state, she has been linked to two marble duplexes at Otioko GRA by Isaac Boro Expressway; Glass House on Sani Abacha Expressway, which is housing Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board; Akemfa Etie Plaza by AP filling Station, Melford Okilo Road; and Aridolf Resort, Wellness and Spa along Sani Abacha Expressway.
NAIJ.com earlier reported how Patience Jonathan allegedly recovered her N2 billion hotel which was sealed off by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in June 2017.
The EFCC had placed the red inscriptions saying: ‘EFCC Under Investigation’ all over the hotel which is located near Setraco Construction Company, off the Mabushi Kado Expressway.
However, according to The Punch, recently, the EFCC inscriptions had been covered with patches of grey paint.