Unless she is able to explain how she came about the fund allegedly traced to her accounts, the Federal Government may confiscate the N10bn hotel allegedly owned by Dame Patience Jonathan, the wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The former first lady in currently under the investigation of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission following the discovery of $20m found in her four accounts with Skye Bank.
The four of the accounts belonged to 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.
The four company accounts have a balance of $15m, while another account with the title, ‘Patience Ibifaka Jonathan’ has a balance of $5m. The account is, however, still active.
The EFCC believes that a former Special Adviser to the President on Domestic Affairs, Waripamowei Dudafa, forged the identities of his domestic servants to open the four accounts while the fifth account was opened in the name of Patience.
In order not to forfeit her properties including the choice hotel, Patience Jonathan will have to explain to the EFCC, the source of building the hotel.
It was gathered that the hotel, which is known as Aridolf Resort Wellness and Spa, Yenagoa, was inaugurated by Patience in April 2015, barely a month before the end of her husband’s tenure.
“According to a UK business newspaper, The Financial Times, the hotel, which has imported state-of-the-art furniture, can compete with other luxury hotels in developed countries.”
“The report dated April 21, 2015, states in part, “The Aridolf Hotel in Yenagoa is an unlikely monument to kitsch on a reclaimed swamp in Nigeria’s oil-producing Niger Delta. In the lobby, Louis XIV furniture is accompanied by bowls of plastic fruit, faux Dutch landscapes and a grotesquely gaudy chandelier. The hotel is redolent of the riches on display in a region that for half a century has generated the bulk of Nigeria’s wealth.”
“The Aridolf, which is owned by Patience Jonathan, wife of the former President, is symptomatic of how superficial progress has been in addressing the festering sense of marginalisation in the region, which remains desperately impoverished despite benefiting from a tide of petrodollars in recent years.”
It was gathered that the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay, said that the EFCC had the right to investigate anybody who was living above his or her means.
He said anybody, who failed to do so, could risk forfeiture of properties believed to have been obtained through stolen funds or could lose funds traced to him or her.
Sagay, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, wondered how Patience, who was a civil servant and never held any government position, could have billions in her bank accounts.
He said, “The EFCC and ICPC Acts have provisions under which they can ask the court to freeze the account of a person if a person’s capacity to earn is below the amount of money that the person appears to have.
“If you are living a lavish lifestyle and it appears you don’t have the means to have acquired the property and the wealth you have, the EFCC is free to probe you.”