Operatives of the Nigeria Police Force were said to have raided the house of Dame Patience Jonathan, the wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, in Abuja on Wednesday, with the aim of uncovering huge foreign currencies allegedly kept in the building.
According to The Punch, multiple sources familiar with the investigation confided in one of our correspondents on Thursday that the security personnel raided the house on a tip-off that huge amount, allegedly believed to be stolen government money, was kept in the building located at Igbeti Rock, Maitama, Abuja.
The operation, which was carried out by operatives of the Special Investigation Panel, headed by a retired Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Ali Amodu, acted at the behest of the Federal Government Asset Recovery and Forfeiture Committee.
Sources explained that an informant had tipped the Federal Government about alleged huge stolen cash hidden in the building and in three other different locations in the Federal Capital Territory.
It was learnt that the informant, who told the government about the cash in the Maitama property, had hinted that the suspect planned to move the money anytime.
Following the intelligence report, the SIP operatives stormed the duplex on Wednesday, but did not find any cash.
A source explained that the police did not know that the building belonged to Jonathan until she identified herself as a former First Lady to the team leader, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Adebo Williams, on the telephone.
The source stated, “At the house, the security men said the house belonged to one Jaga, a Rivers State indigene, and the team leader was directed to call the owner.
“The security man gave the phone to the team leader and she identified herself as former First Lady.
“She spoke in pidgin English and told the operatives to go and take whatever they kept in the house. The team leader advised her to send her lawyer and she did. The house was searched in the lawyer’s presence.”
It was gathered that the team discovered that the first of the twin duplex had not been inhabited for a long time.
The men, it was learnt, found some company documents, three Diamond bank accounts cheque leaves, which were taken away for further investigations.
A source said, “The second duplex was also filled with cobwebs and contained four big security safes. All the four security safes were met opened and in clean condition, indicating that they have been in use.
A senior officer stated that a bulletproof Porsche jeep and a BMW car were found locked up in the garage.
Police allegations malicious persecution of ex-President’s wife counsel
In his reaction, Patience Jonathan’s lawyer, Mr. Charles Ogboli, described the allegations by the police that they had information of huge foreign currencies deposited in the house as unfounded.
He argued that the raid was a malicious persecution of the former first lady, adding that there was no huge safe in the family house.
He explained that the search conducted on Mrs. Jonathan’s house without her presence meant that the police intended to do something else other than searching the building.
Ogboli, who spoke with one of our correspondents on the telephone, also dismissed the claim that a huge amount of cash was moved out of the house before the police arrived at the building to conduct the search.
He said, “I wonder what they (police) want to gain from all these. In their report, they said no incriminating document or whatever was found there. You should understand that this is not the first time that premises were raided. Both EFCC and NDLEA found nothing.
“What is even the interest of the NDLEA in a matter that concerns money? They said they got information that there was a huge amount of money in the house. Are they saying that within the period of time they came, the money disappeared within an interval of 30 minutes?
“As a matter of fact, the siblings of the former first lady are no longer staying there. They have moved to Port Harcourt for more than a year now. So, there is nothing they (police) can allege that is found and that means they intended to do something else.
“There is no such information that there is a huge safe and that they saw bulletproof cars. That you find a car in a place and saw a huge safe are trivial issues because these are human beings that were living good ever before the husband became a public officer.
“Madam (Patience) did not give them the authority to go ahead with that search.”