Patience Jonathan says EFCC wants to steal her money

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The EFCC has placed a restriction on 5 bank
accounts containing $15 million which Mrs
Jonathan has claimed is hers.
Four of the accounts were opened with company
names by former aide to ex-president Goodluck
Jonathan , Waripamowei Dudafa .
Mrs Jonathan made the comment via an open
letter written to EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu by
her lawyers, FirstLaw Solicitors on Sunday,
September 18.
The letter reads:
1. By virtue of the Fundamental Rights
(Enforcement Procedure) Rules 2009, we are
Solicitors to HER EXCELLENCY, MRS. PATIENCE
IBIFAKA GOODLUCK JONATHAN, the wife to the
immediate past President of the Federal Republic
of Nigeria, HIS EXCELLENCY, DR. GOODLUCK
EBELE JONATHAN, GCFR. We shall hereinafter,
refer to Mrs. Patience Goodluck Jonathan as “OUR
CLIENT.”
2. Our Client is a respected senior citizen of
international repute, a retired Permanent Secretary
and the immediate past First Lady of the Federal
Republic of Nigeria. Our Client is a law-abiding
citizen who has never or at all been the subject of
any criminal and/or financial investigation,
whether at home or abroad. Accordingly, she has
not been found guilty of any criminal conduct
throughout a sparkling public service career
spanning over 35 years.
3. During the 5 years our Client served as First
Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria between
May, 2010 and May, 2015; she was the Initiator/
Founder of the A. ARUERA WOMEN FOUNDATION
as well as the WOMEN FOR CHANGE INITIATIVE;
both of which Non-Governmental Organisations
(NGOs) substantially contributed to the 35 per
cent affirmative action for women in the country.
Our Client is the recipient of numerous local and
international awards in recognition of her untiring
commitment towards uplifting the living standard
of women, children and the aged in Nigeria.
4. Sir, it is against this sterling and meritorious
background of our Client that we most
respectfully, write to draw your attention to the
numerous breaches of the 1999 Constitution (as
amended) and the African Charter on Human and
Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act
2004 committed by the Economic and Financial
Crimes Commission (EFCC) in cause of the
Commission’s illegal and unlawful investigation of
our Client for alleged money laundering. These
investigations have reportedly led to the freeze of
our Client’s accounts and led to untold
consequences to our Client’s health and
wellbeing.
5. Firstly, the EFCC must realize that the
ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL CRIMES COMMISSION
(ESTABLISHMENT) ACT 2004 is inferior in content
and quality to both the 1999 CONSTITUTION OF
THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA (AS
AMENDED) and THE AFRICAN CHARTER ON
HUMAN AND PEOPLES RIGHTS 2004.
6. To that extent, it is trite law that, where there is
a conflict or an inconsistency between the EFCC
ACT, on the one hand; and the combined
provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended)
and the African Charter on Human and Peoples
Rights 2004, on the other hand; the extant
provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended)
and the African Charter on Human and Peoples
Rights 2004 must necessarily prevail to the extent
of the said inconsistency.
7. However, we note, with regret, that in the
current matter involving the curious and bizarre
investigation of our esteemed Client, the EFCC
under your watch has not only undermined the
1999 Constitution (as amended) and the African
Charter on Human and Peoples Rights; the
Commission has actually conducted itself in a
most desperate, despicable and arrogant manner.
This is rather unfortunate.
8. Sir, one of the cardinal principles enshrined in
both Nigerian and African jurisprudence, is that of
the presumption of innocence which is guaranteed
to all citizens, including our Client.
9. Consequently, the SPECIAL POWERS of the
Commission as defined by SECTION 7(1) & (2) of
the EFCC ACT 2004 to, among others, “cause
investigations to be conducted into the properties
of any person if it appears to the Commission that
the person’s life style and extent of the properties
are not justified by his source of income,” is
inconsistent with and contrary to the mandatory
requirement of SECTION 36(6)(a) & (b) of the 1999
Constitution (as amended), which states thus:
“Every person who is charged with a criminal
offence shall be entitled to – (a) be informed
promptly in the language that he understands and
in detail of the nature of the offence; (b) be given
adequate time and facilities for the preparation of
his defence;”
10. The necessary implication or import of
SECTION 36(6)(a) & (b) of the 1999 Constitution
(as amended) is that the EFCC’s so-called power
to arbitrarily and unlawfully investigate our
esteemed Client and thereby, freeze her accounts
with total sum in excess of FIFTEEN MILLION US
DOLLARS which are domiciled with SKYE BANK
PLC is NOT ABSOLUTE.
11. Sir, it is our Client’s brief that there is no
formal criminal complaint of economic and
financial crime as defined by the EFCC ACT 2004
written by any person or institution against her
which warranted the EFCC to freeze her accounts.
12. It is also our Client’s brief that the EFCC failed
to obtain a Court Order as required by SECTION
34 of the EFCC ACT before her accounts were
frozen.
13. It is our Client’s further brief that, up until the
writing of this Open Letter, she has not received
any formal invitation to appear before the
Commission for questioning; whereas her
accounts domiciled with SKYE BANK PLC have
since been frozen by the Commission without
recourse to her.
14. Sir, the argument put forward by the
Commission in the public domain that,
“investigations are ongoing…Mrs. Patience
Jonathan shall be invited in due course,” are not
only vexatious and provocative. They constitute
an outright violation and rape of the fundamental
right to fair hearing and ownership of property as
guaranteed to our Client by the 1999 Constitution
(as amended) and the African Charter on Human
and Peoples Rights 2004.
15. Indeed, SECTION 36(6)(a) & (b) of the 1999
Constitution (as amended), contains or laid down
a sequence or pattern of commencement of
investigation which MUST BE FOLLOWED
STRICTLY, to wit:
a. Persons charged with a criminal offence must
be informed in the language they understand and
in detail of the nature of the offence;
b. Such persons must be given adequate time
and facilities for the preparation of their defence;
etc
16. Sir, instead of strict compliance with the
above pattern, as laid down by SECTION 36(6)(a)
& (b) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the
EFCC went after our Client’s money by ordering a
freeze of her accounts. With all due respect, the
EFCC is a BIG THIEF!
17. We are very much aware of numerous
instances where EFCC used strong-arm tactics to
dispossess hard working Nigerians of their
legitimately earned money; only to turn around to
brazenly and shamelessly loot the recovered loot.
This is one of such unfortunate instances. Clearly,
it is a failed politically-motivated attempt by the
EFCC to steal our Client’s money using the cover
of the present political climate.
18. We are sufficiently convinced that prebendal
politics of the sort that smears the image and
reputation of former public office holders, together
with that of members of their families – which
automatically, distracts from governance and
slows down the nation’s pace of development –
is one of the major reasons for the persistent and
unrelenting politically-motivated attacks on our
Client who is extremely popular with Nigerian
women, children and the aged.
19. We have rightly observed that each time a
new Government was sworn into office, political
jobbers such as the EFCC promptly mobilized
themselves to throw mud, blackmail and/or
otherwise label members of the immediate past
Government; all in a desperate bid to accomplish
or satisfy narrow and base political interests to
the detriment of the entire country. This disturbing
familiar pattern of unjustifiable, bankrupt and
hollow harassment of the nation’s former leaders
is deplorable.
20. Our Client has unfortunately, come under the
vice grip and stranglehold of the cabal of political
jobbers who would not allow her concentrate on
her private life in retirement. Ironically, our
Client’s most virulent critics and traducers come
from the human rights community in Nigeria
which benefited immensely from her husband’s
fairly commendable human rights record, while he
served as President.
21. Notably, we recall that the Freedom of
Information Act 2015 was signed into law by
former President Goodluck Jonathan. The Criminal
Justice Administration Law 2015 was also signed
into law by the former President. Needless to say,
these extant laws have strengthened Nigeria’s
civil society to act effectively as the nation’s
“fourth arm of government.”
22. For the avoidance of doubt, it shall be
counter-productive and inimical to the public
interest if the Attorney General of the Federation
and/or the EFCC heeded the irresponsible calls to
commence the arrest and prosecution of our
Client based on suspicion. If they did otherwise,
they shall be violating the extant provision of
SECTION 174(3) of the 1999 Constitution (as
amended) which clearly prohibits criminal
proceedings that were not in the public interest.
Besides, suspicion; no matter how strong it may
seem; cannot ground a conviction.
23. We hereby categorically and emphatically
state that, HER EXCELLENCY, MRS. PATIENCE
IBIFAKA GOODLUCK JONATHAN SHOULD BE LEFT
ALONE!
24. Furthermore, there is no established legal or
political precedent for what the EFCC is currently
doing to our Client. How many former First Ladies
in Nigeria have received the Patience Goodluck
Jonathan Treatment (PGJT) to have warranted the
EFCC to engage in the effrontery to freeze our
Client’s accounts and subject her to public
opprobrium, ridicule and disgrace? This nonsense
must stop forthwith!
25. Consequently, we urge the EFCC to de-freeze
our Client’s accounts WITHIN 14 DAYS from
today, September 18, 2016 and tender a public
apology to our Client.

  1. TAKE NOTICE; AND NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN
    that if the EFCC fails, refuses and/or neglects to
    comply accordingly, we shall file an action at the
    AFRICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN AND PEOPLES
    RIGHTS at The Gambia demanding FIVE BILLION
    NAIRA in exemplary and punitive damages.

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