A former Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan, has again said that he has no account or property abroad.
Mr Jonathan said this in a statement Tuesday.
The statement, signed by Ikechukwu Eze, spokesman to Mr Jonathan, was issued in response to moves by the Nigerian government to subpoena bank records purportedly belonging to Mr Jonathan and his wife, Patience.
“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,” Mr Eze said.
“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.”
The statement said that between the period Mr Jonathan made claims of not operating foreign account and now, nothing has changed with regards to the former president.
A Bloomberg report Tuesday said that Nigeria is seeking documents from 10 banks, including Citigroup Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., in a bid to overturn the controversial $9.6 billion P&ID arbitration award.
The award is related to a business deal that the country claims is shrouded in allegations of corruption.
The report said that Nigerian authorities asked a federal court in New York for permission to subpoena information about transactions involving government officials, including Mr Jonathan. The politicians were in office when the state signed a contract with Process & Industrial Developments Ltd., and later became involved in a costly dispute with the company.
The Buhari administration’s effort to quash the huge $9.6 billion award against it is tied to its ability to prove that the contract was fraudulent, with P&ID lacking the ability and willingness to deliver, and possibly paying kickbacks to senior government officials at the time.
But Mr Jonathan’s spokesperson said Tuesday that the efforts to check the former president’s accounts were needless because Mr Jonathan had no such accounts in the United States.
“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,” the statement said.
“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 image is the paramount duty of her government, because it is not possible to belittle Nigerians without belittling Nigeria.
“Finally, we state that the signing of the P&ID contracts preceded the Jonathan administration, and that that government 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.”
Mr Jonathan governed Nigeria as president between 2010 and 2015.
He lost his reelection bid to Muhammadu Buhari of the then opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, in 2015.