Patience Jonathan may be losing her suspected slush funds to the Federal Government with the quality of evidences possessed by one of the anti-graft agencies in Nigeria.
A banker, the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and 11 others are to testify on how four slush accounts were opened for former First Lady Patience Jonathan, The Nation learnt yesterday.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has tightened security around the 13 witnesses ahead of the trial’s resumption on September 27 to prevent any harm which may militate against the success of the case.
The accounts were opened by the ex-First Lady’s former Senior Special Assistant (Domestic / Household and Social Events to the former President), Dr. Dudafa Waripamo-Owei Emmanuel.
Dudafa and six others were last Thursday arraigned before a Federal High Court in Lagos. Others are a lawyer Amajuoyi Briggs, a banker, Adedamola Bolodeoku; Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited; Trans Ocean Property and Investment Company Limited; Globus Integrated Service Limited; and Seagate Property Development and Investment Limited.
A document attached to the charge sheet indicates that 12 witnesses, including an account officer, will tell the court how the current and VISA Platinum Credit Card ( USD) accounts were opened.
The document lists the accounts in Skye Bank Plc as follows: 1771420773 and 2110002238 ( Pluto Property and Investment and Company Limited); 1771420797 and 2110002245(Trans Ocean Property and Investment and Company Limited); 1771421299 0and 2110002269 (Globus Integrated Services Limited) and 1771420780and 2110002207 (Seagate Property Development and Investment Limited).
The identities of the13 witnesses are being shielded for security reasons. It was learnt that some of them have been under pressure, especially the key Account Officer, in the past few days.
A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “We are set for the trial on how the slush accounts were opened for the former First Lady. We have filed a list of 13 witnesses along with our Proof of Evidence to show that we conducted due diligence.
“The Account Officer, who managed the slush funds, will tell the court the remittances into the accounts and how the ex-First Lady operated them. I think Nigerians have not heard the last on these slush accounts. This is not a case of witchhunt.
“We have also taken adequate measures to protect all the witnesses in order to enable them to testify against encumB.rances. We know some of the witnesses have been under pressure but we will ensure their safety.
“It is imperative to protect these witnesses because we have availed the defence their names in line with the Administration of Criminal Justice Act. This may expose the witnesses to some risks which are being taking care of.”