Goodluck Jonathan, former Nigerian President, has responded to reports that the federal government is planning to subpoena he and his wife’s bank records in the United States.
According to reports by Bloomberg, the federal government requested for “all documents concerning any transactions to, from, or for the benefit” of Jonathan and his wife between 2009 and the present day. The Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami was quoted saying the information will help in an ongoing investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to know individuals in the Process & Industrial Developments Ltd gas deal.
Abubakar Malami said in court filings submitted on March 24;
“There is good reason to believe that ministers at the highest level were involved in a corrupt scheme to steal money from Nigeria.”
Though the EFCC found no direct evidence backing claim of public officers receiving payments from P&ID or its affiliates, the anti-graft agenct however said 10 banks are “likely to have processed US dollar transactions connected to P&ID’s operations as either correspondent banks or the New York branches of foreign lenders”.
However reacting to the report, former President Goodluck Jonathan stated that he has no account or property abroad.
In the statement signed by Jonathan’s spokesperson Ikechukwu Eze, a comment the former President made while swearing-in new ministers on March 5, 2014 was referenced. He said at that time that he had no accounts or property abroad.
The statement reads;
“Our attention has been drawn to international media reports to the effect that the Federal Government of Nigeria has subpoenaed bank records for former President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife, Dame Patience Jonathan in the United States of America.
“We aver that the Federal Government of Nigeria did not contact Dr Jonathan or his wife before issuing these subpoenas. If they had, we would have advised them of the fact that you cannot subpoena what does not exist.
We also remind the public that on March 5, 2014, during the swearing-in of new ministers, then President Jonathan said “I am loyal to Nigeria’s economy. I don’t have accounts or property abroad.
“We are confident in stating that between that time and now, nothing has changed with regards to Dr Goodluck Jonathan. He has no accounts in the United States of America and encourages US authorities to cooperate fully with the Federal Government of Nigeria’s subpoena.
“We would also like to state that during his tenure as President of Nigeria, Dr Goodluck Jonathan extended every courtesy to former Presidents and Heads of state because he believed and still believes that promoting, projecting and protecting Nigeria’s sovereignty and the image is the paramount duty of her government because it is not possible to belittle Nigerians without belittling Nigeria.
“Jonathan gave appropriate counsel to the incoming government in the handover notes of 2015, which advice if carried out, would have prevented the current unfortunate circumstances”.
Former public officers including former ministers of petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke and Rilwanu Lukman, were also included in the subpoena.
The Nigerian government is hoping to overturn $9.7 billion judgement awarded against it, for a breach of agreement in a gas project handled by the Process & Industrial Developments Ltd.