Nigeria anti-graft agency dismisses reports it investigated president's wife

by George Fominyen | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Friday, 9 September 2011 10:18 GMT

* Any views expressed in this opinion piece are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

EFCC dismisses reports it had investigated Patience Jonathan for money-laundering - papers

Nigeria’s anti-graft agency has dismissed media reports that it had investigated Patience Jonathan, wife of the country’s president, for money-laundering, newspapers reported on Thursday.

Media stories, based on leaked U.S. diplomatic cables posted by Wikileaks, said the EFCC had seized $13.5 million from Patience Jonathan when her husband, President Goodluck Jonathan, was the then Governor of Nigeria’s Bayelsa State, This Day newspaper reported.

“Let me state clearly that the commission will not allow itself to be used to drag innocent people’s names into crimes, cases or allegations they know nothing about,” said Farida Waziri the head of the EFCC said.

“In this particular case, I have read my predecessor say, in media interviews in September 2010, that Mrs. Jonathan was not in any way involved in any case of money laundering investigated by the EFCC under him,” Waziri added.

“I have thereafter checked our records and cannot find any case of money laundering against Mrs. Jonathan or the president himself. So, each time I get an enquiry or read about this, I often wonder where this is coming from,” she said.

 Waziri made the statements while receiving representatives of the Women Empowering and Enriching Lives (WEEL), a non-governmental organisation based in the Nigerian capital of Abuja, the Daily Champion newspaper said. She spoke of her commitment to support women’s empowerment in the country.

Analysts say Waziri is among Nigeria’s most influential women given her position as head of the anti-graft agency in a country often ranked as among the most corrupt by international governance indexes.

“Without sounding feminist, I am bold to say that women in positions of authority are not only achievers as instances abound around us but their empowerment secures the future of children, families and the society as a whole,” Waziri said.

“I am equally glad to note that women in authority are reputable for maintaining high standards and playing by the rules,” she concluded. 


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