Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has given the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, a 7 Day ultimatum to prosecute former First lady, Patience Jonathan over $15m found in the accounts of four companies owned by her which is currently under investigation for fraud.
DailyTrust reports that the anti-corruption agency in a letter dated September 13th and signed by its executive director Adetokunbo Mumuni, asked the Minister of Justice to prosecute the former first lady within 7 days of the receipt of its letter, failing which SERAP will institute legal proceedings to compel the discharge of constitutional duty in this matter.” The letter in part reads
“Under article 20 of the convention, this government has an obligation to prosecute intentional illicit enrichment, that is, a significant increase in the assets of a public official that he or she cannot reasonably explain in relation to his or her lawful income. The fact that the $15m found in the four accounts belong to Mrs Jonathan raises serious suspicion or at the very least a prima-facie case of unexplained wealth/illicit enrichment, and imposes an obligation on Mrs Jonathan to explain and justify the source(s) of the $15m. In the event that she is not able to justify, explain or put forth evidence demonstrating the legitimate origin of the $15m, SERAP urges you to take immediate steps to forfeit the asset under appropriate legal proceedings, and to institute criminal prosecution for unexplained wealth in the matter. Similarly, section 44 of the Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Act criminalises unexplained or illicit wealth and allows criminal penalties and forfeiture if in the course of an investigation there are reasonable grounds to believe that a corruption offence has been committed, that is, the failure to explain the origin of the $15m given present or past emoluments, and other relevant circumstances. Mrs Jonathan has admitted that the four accounts belong to her and that she is the sole signatory to these accounts. The four accounts in which Mrs Jonathan’s $15m was lodged are said to belong to the following companies: 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. Mrs Jonathan was given a platinum card and exclusive access to the accounts. According to reports, a houseboy, a driver and other domestic workers of a former Special Adviser on Domestic Affairs to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Waripamowei Dudafa, were named as directors.”