Wednesday, July 6, 2016 12:38 pm
With the immunity he is cloaked with as the governor of Ekiti State, it may not be possible for Nigeria’s anti graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC to haul Ayodele Fayose before the courts for trial on corruption charges at least for now.
However, to ensure that the governor is brought to justice just like it is presently doing to others who have looted funds from the national treasury, the anti graft agency had about three weeks ago frozen Fayose’s account with Zenith bank.
The freezing of the account followed discovery that just like other top officials of the former administration of President Goodluck Jonathan who are being tried on various charges of corruption, the Governor also partook in the bazaar the Office of the National Security Adviser under Colonel Sambo Dasuki (retired) turned funds budgeted for fighting Boko Haram insurgency into.
Dasuki is being tried on different charges of corruption in different courts for disbursing the sum of $2.1b budgeted to procure weapons to fight Boko Haram to members of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP for election purposes.
EFCC claimed that the sum of N1.21 billion was paid into the governor’s account for the prosecution of his election in 2014 from the office of NSA.
Fayose who claimed his election in 2014 as Ekiti Governor was funded by Zenith Bank, had after a lot of huffing and puffing about the EFCC’s action, instituted a suit at Federal High Court, asking for an order to lift the lift the seal placed on his account.
The suit has been adjourned to 30 September after the first hearing last week.
But ahead of the hearing of the suit, the EFCC in an affidavit sworn to by one Tosin Owobo, its operative had detailed how Nigerian funds were moved from the Office of the National Security Adviser, through Musiliu Obanikoro who was then a Minister of State for Defence, to Fayose’s accounts in Zenith Bank.
In the affidavit, EFCC details how N1.21 billion out of N2.26 billion paid to the account of Slyvan Mcnamara Limited, a company linked to the sons of Obanikoro was disbursed by Fayose and also gave details of bribes received from some contractors doing jobs for the government of Ekiti State.
EFCC detailed how the N1. 21 billion was transferred into Fayose’s accounts by one of his associates, Abiodun Agbele, who collected the money directly from Obanikoro. The Minister had transported the cash from Abuja to Akure in a chartered aircraft with Registration No: HS125-800 5N-BMT belonging to Gyro Air Limited.
EFCC said the N1. 21b transferred to Fayose was part of N4. 7b stolen from the treasury of Federal Government through the office of National Security Adviser.
Agbele was arrested by EFCC last week after he was declared wanted.
The affidavit partly reads: “Prior to Obanikoro’s arrival in Akure, Alade Oluseye, a staff of Zenith Bank, had informed his colleague, Lawrence Akande, that the money was being brought through the Akure Airport for lodgment and since the volume of the cash was huge, he would be needing a bullion van to convey the money.
“On June 17, 2014, Oluseye, accompanied by Biodun Agbele, who was fronting for Fayose, arrived the Akure airport and took delivery of N724,500,000.00 from Obanikoro who was with his ADC, Lieutenant Colonel A.O Adewale.
“The next day, N494, 990,000.00 was delivered by Obanikoro in the same manner at the airport. In all, Obanikoro conveyed N1, 219,490,000.00 through a chartered aircraft belonging to GYRO AIR Limited with registration number: HS125-800 5N-BMT.
“After Oluseye took delivery of the money from Obanikoro, on June 19, 2014, Agbele was instructed by the governor to deposit N219million in cash to De-privateer Limited’s Zenith Bank account number: 1013835889.
“On the same day the said Biodun Agbele made another cash deposit in the sum of N300million being part of the proceeds of crimes to the said De- privateer Ltd’s with the 2nd Respondent.
“On the 23rd June, 2014 the sum of N200, 000,000.00 (Two Hundred Million Naira) being part of these proceeds of crime, was also deposited to the said De-Privateer Ltd’s account domiciled with the Respondent by Biodun Agbele whilst acting in concert with the Applicant.
“On the 26th day of June,2014 the said Biodun Agbele on the instruction of Applicant further dissipated the proceeds of crime by depositing the sum of N137,000,000.00 (One Hundred and Thirty Seven Million Naira) to account No. 1003126654 domiciled with the 2nd Respondent in the name of the Applicant.
“On the 22nd and 27th day of August, 2014 Biodun Agbele also deposited the sum of N50, 000,000.00 (Fifty Million Naira) and N118, 760,000.00 (One Hundred and Eighteen Million, Seven Hundred and Sixty Thousand Naira) respectively to the said account which sum formed part of the proceeds of crime.
“In further dissipating the proceeds of crime deposited and retained in the account referred to in paragraphs (d) and (g) above, the sum of N300,000,000.00 (Three Hundred Million Naira) was put in a fixed deposit account No. 9013074033 in the name of the Applicant on the 7th day of April,2015.
“On June 17, 2014, Agbele deposited N100 million to the account of Spotless Investment Limited, owned by Fayose, with Zenith Bank (number: 1010170969). On June 23, 2014, he also deposited N49 million to the account of Spotless Investment.”
Owobo also revealed that EFCC blocked Fayose’s account without a valid court order as the Commission got an interim order from Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court in Lagos.
“The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in the exercise of his statutory mandate contained in section 34 of the EFCC Act having satisfied himself that the various sums of money in the account No. 1003126654, 9013074033, 1010170969 and 1013835888 domiciled with the 2nd Respondent were made through the commission of the Economic and Financial Crimes to wit: stealing and receiving gratification approached the Federal High Court Lagos Judicial Division, for an order directing the Manager of the 2nd Respondent to freeze the said accounts.
“In his wisdom, Hon. Justice M.B Idris granted the 1st Respondent’s application wherein an order of interim attachment was made on the aforementioned accounts. Attached and marked exhibit EFCC 09 is a certified true copy of the said order.
“The said order was a preservative order to prevent further dissipation of proceeds of crimes.”
Owobi therefore said the Governor could not use the court as a shield against criminal investigation.
According to him, while the governor has immunity against civil and criminal proceeding, the proceeds of an economic and financial crimes allegedly committed by him do not enjoy such privilege.
According to the anti graft agency, aside the N1.21 billion dollars illegally received from the ONSA, Fayose has also received bribes from contractors with the Ekiti State Government, such as Samchese Nigeria Ltd, Tender Branch Concept Nig. Ltd, Hoff Concept Ltd, Calibre Consulting Ltd, using Still Earth Ltd and Signachorr Nigeria Ltd as fronts.
The Ekiti State Governor, EFCC said instructed the two companies he is using as fronts to use the bribes to buy properties for him.
In compliance with the instruction, the anti graft agency said in the affidavit that Still Earth Ltd and Signachoor Nigeria Ltd acquired properties, using the name of company known as J.J. Technical Services Ltd belonging to the Governor and his wife.
The Commission backed the allegation up with deeds of assignment for the properties. In addition, EFCC also said the Ekiti State Governor used the name of his sister, identified as one Mrs. Moji Ladeji to acquire a property situate at No.44, Osun Crescent Maitama Abuja from the gratifications.