The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Wednesday vowed that the wife of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Patience, will never go scot-free if its investigation against her produces evidence that she was involved in any corrupt practices. The EFCC Deputy Director of Operations, Mr. Iliyasu Kwarbai, said this after receiving a petition against Patience and the ruling All Progressives Congress from a group of protesters, under the aegis of Human Rights Defenders and Advocacy Centre, who marched to the EFCC office in Ikoyi, Lagos.
The group submitted a petition titled: “DEMAND FOR ARREST, PROSECUTION OF PATIENCE JONATHAN, PROBE OF THE APC CAMPAIGN FUNDS AND NO MORE SACRED COWS IN THE ANTI-CORRUPTION CRUSADE.”
In the said petition signed by its President, Queen Ameh, and the Chairman of its Board of Trustees, Innocent Agbo, the HRDAC accused the EFCC of being selective in its anti-graft war, and wondered why Patience was still walking freely in spite of the evidence, which they said the EFCC had against her.
The HRDAC asked the EFCC to change its slogan, “Nobody is above the law,” since it had found it difficult to go after the likes of Patience, ex-Presidents, including Ibrahim Babangida, Abdulsalami Abubakar, Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan.
The protesters also challenged the EFCC to probe the source of the election campaign funds of the ruling APC in the 2015 elections, while also demanding a probe of the national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and the ex-Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi. Addressing the EFCC, Agbo said:
“You have found evidence incriminating Patience Jonathan but we are surprised that Patience Jonathan is still allowed to be walking freely, and even had the audacity to take the EFCC to court to demand the release of her money to her.”“I have been to this same EFCC to bail several people over the issue of N500,000 passing through their accounts innocently. They were invited, they came voluntarily and you people held them. But we have somebody with our money, $15m which is N6bn, walking freely.”“We have the issue of Badamasi Babangida; it is open knowledge that N12bn gulf money was missing under his regime, nothing is done; we are aware of Obasanjo and the $16bn power funds, you people are not investigating it.”“We are aware of the petition against Amaechi to the EFCC; we are aware that the APC did not get the funds for its election campaign from only Buhari’s account. We are aware that you are probing the Peoples Democratic Party, why are you not probing the APC?”
In response, Kwarbai said the EFCC was not selective in its anti-graft fight, explaining that it does not arrest people arbitrarily but worked based on petitions submitted to it. He also said the general public might not understand that investigation of crime was a long process, which he said, involved visit to so many establishments and institutions. He said:
“Let me tell you, there is no sacred cow; anybody who is found wanting, who involves himself or herself in corrupt practices will not be spared. I have received your petition, it is here and what do we do? We go into investigation immediately. Now we have seen the name of Patience Jonathan; it is here. If she is found wanting, she will never go scot-free. So also any other person no matter how highly placed he is.”“We must sanitise our country and provide a very good environment that people can come and invest in; an economy that is devoid of any economic and financial crime. So, we are happy to see you here; we have received it and we are going to go into action. I am going to inform my chairman that you were here and that we’ll commence investigation immediately.”