Patience Jonathan, the former first lady of Nigeria is claiming ownership of bank accounts allegedly worth $31.5 million that have been frozen in a corruption investigation.
This accounts uncovered are prompting anti-corruption groups to demand her prosecution.
The wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan who left office in May 2015, filed suit asking the Federal High Court in Lagos to unfreeze her five U.S. dollar accounts at Nigeria’s Skye Bank which were frozen by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in July.
Madam Jonathan’s lawyer sent a letter to the commission saying $15 million of the money was a government payment for medical bills she incurred in London in 2013.
Meanwhile, Nigerian media quoted unidentified anti-corruption commission officers as saying all but one of the frozen accounts were set up in the names of domestic workers, though the former first lady was the sole signatory.
The commission has detained hundreds of people in a yearlong investigation of tens of billions of dollars missing from the state treasury that has not produced any successful prosecutions.
Nigeria’s Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, a civil society group, demanded that the attorney general immediately undertake criminal proceedings against the former first lady.
Nigerians have taken to social media to deride that claim, asking if she planned to heal the entire world or was buying eternal life. But some accused the anti-graft commission of subjecting her and others to “trial by media.”