— By UMAR SA’AD HASSAN —
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote on what I felt was some plea bargain deal between the presidency and certain key members of the Goodluck Ebele Jonathan administration (see http:// umarfarukhassan.blogspot.com/ 2016/08/gej-sambo-and-deziani- biggest-cows-are.html. )There seems to be a calculated non-enthusiasm in making them account for what was perhaps the most corrupt stewardship since our return to democracy. President Buhari has proven to be one who shuts his eyes to the truth as far as certain individuals are concerned, by telling us there was no ‘Abacha loot’.
When reports surfaced that Dame Patience Jonathan, the former first lady, had sued the EFCC over its freezing of accounts connected to a fraud case involving former Presidential aide Waripomei Dudafa and a host of companies with no known addresses, it made the math much easier.
The said accounts are said to be holding a total sum of $15m and Mrs Jonathan has slapped the EFCC and Skye Bank with a N200m suit for a number of reasons, prominent among them the absence of a court order allowing the freeze. If you asked me, the temerity of the act suggests there might even be more than a plea bargain in place. No one can easily rule out instances of a few ‘thank you’ sums here and there. The ex-first lady isn’t feeling lucky to be left out; what she appears to be doing is sticking her neck out for other members of the ‘team’ in what may be a threat to those they had agreed with. It would be next-to-impossible for the EFCC to sell any theory about missing the part where she was involved, so they leaked a report that a further $5m has been found in another account with the same bank (Skye Bank) as a face-saving measure, but that hasn’t seemed to work any magic.
From where I stand, the bull’s-eye should have been on who gave Dudafa and his bogus companies those sums from the get-go. It is rather strange that the EFCC didn’t seem to trace the origin of those funds at any time during investigation and its case cannot be said to be water-tight if the companies are non-operational and they leave Dudafa room to say he picked up the money at a dump site and still get away with it .At the time of filing the charge and Mrs Jonathan was nowhere near the case, whose money did Dudafa ought to know was stolen? There is certainly something no one is telling us and, whatever it is, it is very bad. In an affidavit deposed to by a Mr Somiari supporting her application, it was stated that she had being using the ATM cards to the accounts from 2010 until they were frozen. So, are we to just believe the EFCC forgot to charge her as well or that they neglected to investigate all transactions carried out in respect of the accounts in question?
Two things make perfect sense to me: one, there was never any intention to charge Mrs Jonathan; two, her guts make me want to believe GEJ and ‘the team’ may have entered a mutually beneficial agreement that transcends plea bargain. The audacity of the former first lady is simply mind-blowing.
The attempt by the EFCC to cover its tracks only worsens matters. It sounds rather too convenient that they chose less than 48 hours after the Dame’s lawsuit to stumble upon a $5m account in her name and in the same bank. Instead of mitigating the damage, all it does is raise further questions as to the sincerity and credibility of this war.
The integrity card played a huge role in PMB’s victory at the 2015 polls and it’s a shame to watch him disappoint Nigerians. We wanted a sincere war on corruption that would spare no one but, so far, the biggest cows still remain sacred. It remains to be seen what will happen to the one that has brought herself to the slaughterhouse.
Umar Sa’ad Hassan is a lawyer based in Kano.