Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC have reportedly discovered two more assets in Abuja belonging to former first lady, Patience Jonathan, who is currently being investigated by the EFCC for alleged money laundering. The Nation reports that the anti-graft agency believes that the newly discovered assets were allegedly bought through three of her firms namely Ariwabai Aurera Reachout Foundation; Finchley Top Homes Limited; and AM-PM Network Limited, with proceeds from corrupt practices. This brings to 15 the number of her properties that are being investigated.
The agency is currently making moves to seize the properties as well as investigate the roles played by seven banks in acquiring the assets as well as the aforementioned firms. Specifically, detectives are probing how Mrs. Jonathan allegedly used the proxy firms to secure six choice plots in the Central Business District(CBD), Abuja, Wasa District, Idogwari District, Karsana and Mabushi in the FCT.
The plots are:
- 1758, Cadastral zone B06, Mabushi, which was allocated to Ariwabai Aurera Reachout Foundation in 2010;
- 96, Cadastral Zone D05, Karsana, allocated to AM-PM Global Network Limited vide a letter of intent dated 31/05/2012;
- 7109, Cadastral Zone E10, Wasa District, allocated to AM-PM Global Network Limited vide a letter of intent dated 27/03/2013;
- 30, Cadasrtal Zone D03, Idogwari District (AM-PM Global Network Limited vide a letter of intent dated 23/10/2014);
- 1758, Cadastral zone B06, Mabushi (Ariwabai Aurera Reachout Foundation vide a Right of Occupancy in 2010); and
- 1350 Cadastral Zone A00, Central Business District, which was allocated to Ariwabai Aurera Reach Out Foundation in 2010. The and Certificate of Occupancy (CofO) issued in 2011.
An official of the anti-graft agency who spoke on condition of anonymity, said
“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.”
According to the souce, investigations by the agency shows that two properties were already being developed, allegedly by the former First Lady on Plot No. 1758 Cadastral zone B06 Mabushi and Plot No. 1350 Cadastral zone A00 Central Business District
“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.”
The EFCC believes that there is high probability that the property could have been built with proceeds of crime.
“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 said. The agency is awaiting responses from banks, CAC and AGIS.
Besides, it is making efforts to get information about Finchley Homes Limited, its directors and all properties with bank accounts linked to them. The source confirmed that the EFCC might “request for the interim forfeiture of the two properties.
“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.
With the latest bend of investigation, 15 properties and six plots of land have so far been traced to the former First Lady in Port Harcourt, Yenagoa and Abuja. Besides the two properties in Abuja, 13 others were previously linked with the ex-First Lady.
The assets 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.
The rest suspected assets in Yenagoa include 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.