Nigeria anti-graft agency edges towards former first lady

2016-09-16 07:20
Nigerian first lady Patience Jonathan. (AFP, File)

Nigerian first lady Patience Jonathan. (AFP, File)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Lagos - A top aide of former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan pleaded not guilty on Thursday to money laundering charges linked to the former first lady, as he appeared in a Lagos court.

Jonathan's special advisor on household and domestic matters Waripamo Dudafa is accused with two others and four companies of laundering millions of dollars in stolen public funds.

Former first lady Patience Jonathan claimed last week in a letter to Nigeria's anti-graft agency that she is the rightful owner of the over $15 million in multiple bank accounts, according to Nigerian news agency Sahara Reporters.

She told the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that she had been withdrawing the money from the accounts to pay for her overseas health expenses.

The accounts were frozen in July, and she is arguing that the EFCC is trying to "harass or harangue her and short-change her of her personal funds in breach of her fundamental human rights".

The seizure of funds is "illegal, unlawful, wrongful and prejudicial" according an application she submitted to the federal high court in Lagos on Thursday demanding the release of the money.

Anti-graft crackdown

Two other men pleaded not guilty along with Dudafa, while the representatives of the four companies pleaded guilty to charges of money laundering and forgery. The trial is adjourned until September 27.

Anti-corruption campaigners said the Nigerian government should investigate the ex first lady, who has attracted attention from anti-graft agencies and activists in the past for her vast personal wealth.

Debo Adeniran, head of the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders organisation, said she had "guts" to claim the money is hers.

"I only hope the present government will have the political will to pursue a trial to the end," Adeniran said.

President Muhammadu Buhari, who defeated Jonathan in elections last year, has launched a wide-ranging campaign against corruption targeting key members of the previous regime.

The focus on officials from the former ruling party has led some critics to claim Buhari is using the anti-graft crackdown as a way to target and silence political foes.

Former national security advisor Sambo Dasuki is currently facing a slew of charges over allegedly bogus arms deals in which money meant for military procurements to fight Boko Haram was diverted for political purposes.

Meanwhile, Jonathan's cousin Robert Azibaola is also standing trial for allegedly stealing millions in public funds.

But despite the arrest of his key confidants, Jonathan has yet to be charged with any offence.

Read more on:    patience jonathan  |  muhammadu buhari  |  goodluck jonathan  |  nigeria  |  west africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.