$15m Accounts: SERAP seeks court order to compel AGF prosecute Patience Jonathan

patience-jonathan-640x360Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has approached a Federal high court sitting in Lagos seeking its permission to file a mandamus application compelling the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) to prosecute former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan over a $15m unexplained wealth frozen in four companies’ accounts.

The suit with registration number FHC/L/CS/1318/2016 and dated 23th September 2016 was filed on behalf of SERAP by its executive director,  Adetokunbo Mumuni.

Mumuni said SERAP came to court as a follow up to a request last week by Mrs Jonathan for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to defreeze her accounts and offer her a public apology within 14-days.

According to him “The Attorney General of the Federation has a duty to prosecute intentional illicit enrichment, that is, a significant increase in the assets of a public official that he or she cannot reasonably explain in relation to his or her lawful income.

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“By virtue of Section 174 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), the Attorney General of the Federation is constitutionally empowered to institute and undertake criminal proceedings against any person in Nigeria in respect of any offence created by or under any Act of the National assembly in superior courts in Nigeria.

“The Attorney General of the Federation has failed, neglected and or refused to institute and undertake criminal proceedings against Mrs. Dame Patience Jonathan over $15m unexplained wealth frozen in her accounts,” he added..

SERAP is consequently asking the high court for a declaration that the failure of the Federal Government to institute and undertake criminal proceedings against Mrs. Dame Patience Jonathan over $15m unexplained wealth frozen in four companies’ accounts is unconstitutional and unlawful as it contradicts and in conflict with the duties and obligations of the Respondent under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

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Specifically, SERAP said that by a letter dated 13 September, 2016, we requested the Attorney General of the Federation to urgently institute and undertake criminal proceedings against one Mrs. Dame Patience Jonathan over $15m unexplained wealth frozen in four companies’ accounts.

“But since the receipt of the letter, and up till the filing of this suit, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice has so far failed, refused and/ or neglected to institute and undertake criminal proceedings against Mrs. Dame Patience Jonathan.”

“Mrs. Jonathan has admitted that the four accounts belong to her and that she is the sole signatory to these accounts.

The four Companies and their directors have since pleaded guilty to the commission of the offence.

“The fact that the $15m found in the four accounts belonged to Mrs. Jonathan raises serious suspicion or at the very least a prima-facie case of unexplained wealth/illicit enrichment, and imposes a duty on Mrs. Jonathan to explain and justify the source(s) of the $15m.”

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No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.