© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
I earned my money legitimately, Patience Jonathan’s sister tells court
Esther Oba, a younger sister to Patience Jonathan, former Nigeria’s First Lady, has explained why the sum of $429,381. 87 which was traced to her account by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) should not be forfeited to the federal government of Nigeria.
Oba gave the explanation before Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of the federal high court where the EFCC had asked the court for an injunction ordering the forfeiture of the money which it believes was part of proceeds of corrupt activities.
The case is a fallout of the EFCC’s investigation into alleged corrupt practices by the former First Lady from who a number of assets in cash and property have already been reportedly recovered.
Before the court, Oba said she earned the money from estacodes while working as a Special Assistant on Household Administration to former President Goodluck Jonathan, while some of them were gifts she received during her mother’s funeral, as well as the naming ceremony of her child.
Oba claimed she was entitled to $600 per night for official trips that took her outside the country.
“When I had my first child after 14 years of marriage without a child, I got a lot of gifts. Some were hard currencies, land, cars; anything anyone can give as a gift,” Oba told the court.
She said she opened the Skye Bank account to keep the gifts following the advice of Ibrahim Larmode, a former EFCC Chairman.
“When Lamorde came to visit her (Patience), he advised her to open a card account. I took the advice too and opened the Skye Bank account,” Oba said.
While being cross-examined, Oba said she has two signatures, which accounted for the disparity of signatures that was noticed on the said bank account.
The prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, asked Oba to sign the two signatures on a sheet of paper, which she did, albeit after the objection raised by her lawyer, Ifedayo Adedipe, was overruled by the trial judge. The document was subsequently admitted in evidence by the court, after which the case was adjourned to June 27.