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EFCC Arrests Ex-First Lady’s Sister Over Suspicious N3bn Accounts

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has reportedly arrested  former first lady, Patience Jonathan’s younger sister, Esther Oba, over alleged ‘fraudulent’ payments of N3 billion made into her several accounts.

The total balance in the accounts if combined is N3 billion and the monies are domiciled in Skye Bank, Stanbic IBTC, Diamond Bank  and Ecobank.

According to Punch, Oba was arrested at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, on Monday, January 21, shortly after returning from Dubai with her husband and three children.

The suspect first came under the EFCC radar in 2016 when the commission was investigating Mrs. Jonathan.

The ant-graft agency had discovered that an account with Oba’s Bank Verification Number bearing Mrs. Jonathan signature had a balance of $429,381.87 and subsequently froze it.

More investigations by the Commission showed that Mrs. Oba was the sole signatory to an account known as the AM-PM Global Network at Stanbic IBTC 0016971559 at Walter Carrington branch, Victoria Island, Lagos.

The Stanbic account had received the sum of N317 million from its Diamond Bank account 0026718889.

The fund was said to be proceeds of unlawful enrichment derived by Patience who was then appointed a permanent secretary by the Bayelsa State Government.

The EFCC subsequently froze the account.

Since then, Mrs Oba continued to evade the authorities until Monday night when she was arrested at the airport.

“We had been looking for her for over a year because her name featured as the sole signatory to the account of one AM-PM Global Network, a firm under investigation for alleged fraud”, Punch quoted an impeccable EFCC source as saying.

“When we could not get her, we alerted all security agencies and told them to put her on a watchlist and to inform us if she showed up at any port of entry. On Monday, we received word from the Nigeria Immigration Service that she came in with her husband and three children.

“We raced down to the airport and picked her up. She is still in our custody.”

Mrs. Oba’s statement

The suspect, however, said the company in question originally belonged to her late mother, Mama Charity Oba.

She said this in her statement which she gave in detention.

Mrs Oba also said that only her brother, Mohammed Tamuno Tonye, knew the source of the funds and he is also dead.

But the EFCC faulted the claims.

“She said her mother, Mama Charity Oba, was the original owner of the firm. However, after her mother died a Bank Verification Number was needed, two directors of the firm, Gift and Mohammed Tamuno Tonye, wrote Stanbic IBTC saying Esther Oba should be the sole signatory,” the EFCC source said.

“She took charge of the account on February 3, 2016 and between March and May of the same year, there was an inflow of N317m into the account. She said only her brother, Mohammed Tamuno Tonye, knew the source of the funds and he died a few months ago.”

It was gathered that another company, Finchley Top Homes Limited, was also traced to the suspect.

Based on a board resolution entered into by one Ama Ada and Ama Emelia, Mrs. Oba was also made the sole signatory to the bank accounts of the company.

The Finchley Top Homes Limited account with number 1102001996 and domiciled in Ecobank, had a balance of N226,376,700.23 and a fixed deposit of N1,099,511,484.88.

Other suspicious accounts of the company are in Skye Bank with account number 1771731336, and a balance of N14,173,848.85.

Fidelity Bank account with number 4011019539 and a balance of N1,800,494,000.

Stanbic Bank account with number 0016901361, and a balance of N40,594,12.88; and Diamond Bank account with 0019213687 and a balance of N39,418,712.12.

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