Monday, 3 October 2016

Patience Jonathan: Group ‎Asks Serious Fraud Unit To Investigate Former First Lady, Skye Bank Manager For Alleged Fraud

An anti-graft coalition, ‎the Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), has asked the Commissioner of Police in charge of  the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) of the Nigeria Police Force to immediately investigate the alleged case of fraud and impersonation by former first lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, and one Mr. Dipo Oshodi, a manager at Skye Bank Plc.

In a petition forwarded to the Lagos office of the SFU and signed by the coalition's chairman, Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju, CSNAC said the banking transactions involving Mrs. Jonathan and the Skye Bank official suggest that fraud and impersonation occurred.

The group said it made the request on account of the investigation of Mr Warimapowei Dudafa, a former Special Adviser on Domestic Affairs to ex-President Jonathan, during which the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) traced the accounts of four companies to him, with a balance of $15million, coupled with the Dame Patience Jonathan's admission of ownership of the said funds and an additional sum of $5million traced to her account domiciled at Skye Bank.

The EFCC has subsequently charged Dudafa and the four companies with money laundering.

The four companies, whose accounts have since been frozen, 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.

"In response to the freezing of the said accounts, Dame Patience Jonathan has filed a N200m fundamental rights enforcement suit against Skye Bank Plc. for freezing her bank accounts and supplying the EFCC vital information about her finances," the petition said.

However, in the affidavit filed by one Sammie Somiari on behalf of Patience Jonathan in support of the application, noted CSNAC,  Somiari said that it was Dudafa who helped Dame Patience open the four bank accounts which the EFCC froze.

According to Somiari, Dudafa had, on March 22, 2010, brought two Skye Bank officers, Demola Bolodeoku and Dipo Oshodi, to meet Dame Patience at home to open five accounts.

"The deponent claimed that Patience was the sole signatory to the accounts.

"He, however, claimed that after the five accounts were opened, Patience later discovered that Dudafa opened only one of the accounts in her name, while the other four were opened in the names of companies belonging to Dudafa.

“The applicant (Patience) complained about this to Dudafa who,  at his prompting and instance, promised to effect the change of the said accounts to the applicant’s name and to effect this change, Dudafa brought the said bank manager, Mr. Dipo Oshodi, who was purported to have effected the changes," stated CSNAC.                                                

This was said to be about April 2014.

“The applicant is not a director, shareholder or participant in the companies named in the aforementioned four accounts.

“The bank official, Mr. Dipo Oshodi, as it would appear, did not effect or reflect the instruction of the applicant to change the said accounts to her name(s) despite repeated requests of the applicant.

"Furthermore, besides, the ATM credit cards bearing the said companies’ names were brought to the applicant by Mr. Dipo Oshodi of the second respondent bank, who promised to replace them once the cards bearing the changed names were available, but he never did," the petition added.

Somiari, however, admitted in his affidavit that since 2010 up until 2014, Dame Patience had been using the cards on the said accounts and operating the said accounts without restraint. He further averred that  even in May, June and July 2016, Dame Patience went abroad for medical treatment and was using the said credit cards abroad up until July 7, 2016 or thereabouts  when the cards stopped functioning.

CSNAC said that from the foregoing, it is evident that some form of fraud, impersonation and criminal intentions were conceived, designed and executed in the transaction between Mr. Dudafa, Dame Patience, Mr. Oshodi and Skye Bank.

"There is no better way to qualify a transaction where companies accounts is operated by an individual, as a sole signatory, without any legal connection with the company, and also operate ATM cards of the said companies than fraud, money laundering, criminal conspiracy and impersonation.

"These issues for investigations are: Where is the Know Your Customer regulation for banks under this transaction?  Why would Mrs. Jonathan open and operate five different accounts in the same banks?  What information is contained in the signature mandate cards of the companies; and the sources of monies in the accounts?" the group asked.

"CSNAC is,  therefore, by this petition demanding a thorough investigation into the assertions made in the said affidavit as well as subsequent prosecution of Dame Patience Jonathan, the bank manager, Mr. Dipo Oshodi and Dudafa.

"This will go a long way in stemming the tide of corruption in Nigeria, as well as, contribute immensely to the war against corruption embarked upon by the present administration. More importantly, it will also show that Nigerian law is supreme and respecter of nobody, irrespective of status," concluded the coalition.

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