Reacting to the $15 million frozen in the account of four companies, which the first lady has claimed to be hers, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, to institute criminal proceedings against the former first lady, Patience Jonathan, within seven days.
The group in a letter signed by its executive director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, asked Malami to take this step within 7 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter, failing to do so, it will institute legal proceedings to compel the discharge of constitutional duty in this matter.
SERAP stated that the fact that the $15 million 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 $15 million.
And in the event that she is not able to justify, explain or put forth evidence demonstrating the legitimate origin of the $15 million, SERAP urges the FG to take immediate steps to forfeit the asset under appropriate legal proceedings, and to institute criminal prosecution for unexplained wealth in the matter.
Explaining further that 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 $15 million given present or past emoluments, and other relevant circumstances.
The EFCC had frozen the accounts belonging 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, which were linked to the Former First Lady.
The former first lady had in an appeal letter addressed to the anti-graft agency, claimed that the $15 million traced to those accounts was meant to settle her medical bills while she was overseas, thus, urging the anti-graft agency and Skye Bank to lift the embargo on the accounts.