Esther Oba, a sister to former first lady, Patience Jonathan has been arrested at the Nnamdi Azikwe international airport after she returned from a trip to Dubai in the company of her family and house girl.
Oba was arrested by the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) and delivered to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for interrogation.
The wealthy businesswoman whose fortune is suspect is to be questioned by the EFCC in relation to money laundering allegations connected to a N359, 397,458.26 moved through two companies tied to the former first lady.
An EFCC source told The Nation, “We have been looking for her but she has been faceless. We watch-listed her for arrest by any security agency.
“Fortunately at about noon on Monday, the Nigerian Immigration Service(NIS) contacted us that she was arrested while returning from Dubai with her husband and three children. She was arrested at Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport.
“Her name featured in the operation of one of the accounts of ex-First Lady Patience Jonathan. The account is in the name of AM-PM Global Networks Limited which is domiciled in Stanbic IBTC. It is one of the accounts we have frozen. She is the sole signatory to the account of this firm suspected to have been used for money laundering.”
The EFCC source also revealed that Esther has said she does not know the origins of N350 million that flowed through the accounts she is a signatory to. Instead she told security agents that her brother who passed away in late 2017 was the only one who could reveal the source of the funds.
The source added: “From our findings, the closing balance in the account was N317,397,458.26 as at August 10, 2017. The inflows came without a clear narration as to the source. However, investigation is being intensified in that direction. Her claim is that the company was owned by their mother who is deceased. However, major inflows into the account occurred after the demise of their mother, Mrs. Esther Fynface Charity Oba.
“She took charge of this account on 3rd February 2016 and between March and May 2016, the account had an inflow of N350m but she said she does not know the source. She is attributing the source to her brother.”
The source quoted Mrs Oba as saying: “It is only my brother that can explain the source of the cash and he is dead.”
Another source said: “We are suspecting that she and others became involved in money laundering in their quest to mop up money after they left office.
“For instance, on the same day February 3, 2016, another board resolution was submitted to Stanbic IBTC by Finchley Top Homes Ltd authorising the same Esther Oba to be the sole signatory to the company’s account which had about N42million.
“ The signatories to the Board Resolution were Ama Emilia and Ama Ada who are reasonably suspected not to be in existence.
“When confronted, she said she doesn’t know the signatories to the Finchley Homes Board Resolution. She told investigators: ‘I have never seen them in my life.’