By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor
ABUJA—FORMER governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, yesterday, stormed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, hours after leaving office.
Wearing a black t-shirt, with the inscription: “EFCC, I’m here”, the former governor was accompanied by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode..
He was, however, promptly ushered into the EFCC interrogation room in Idiagbon House, Wuse 2, where he a ‘special crack team’ raised by the agency to grill him.
Vanguard learned from a competent EFCC source that Fayose was confronted with, among others, an allegation of how he purportedly collected cash from the Office of the National Security Adviser for undisclosed purposes and how he used it to acquire choice property in Abuja, Lagos and other cities.
The source said: “Fayose has a lot of issues to clear with us and we hope he can clear them on time. He is to write a voluntary statement on all that he knows about the N4.7 billion that he allegedly received from the former Minister of State for Defence.
“Interrogators also confronted him on the choice property he allegedly used fronts to acquire in Lagos, Abuja and other places and the allegation that he collected kickbacks from some contractors.
“There are so many issues for which Fayose must provide answers to our interrogators. These things take time and he should know that it is beyond fanfare but being honest and providing answers to the issues.”
It was also learned that, in a bid to provide a watertight case against the former governor, a former Defence Minister, who reportedly ferried the huge cash to Ondo for Fayose, and now appears to have been given a soft-landing by the government, might be used as a prosecution witness against him.
EFCC is also said to have lined up several top bank officials, who handled many of Fayose’s accounts, which are subject of investigation and litigation.
Some of the accounts, had been seized by the anti-graft agency but was forced to reopen them because of Fayose’s immunity as a governor.
Similarly, some of the property in Abuja and Lagos worth billions of Naira, had already been marked by the EFCC as being under investigation and the anti-graft agency wants to invoke the Assets Forfeiture clause to seize the properties in line with Sections 28 and 34 of the EFCC (Establishment Act) 2004 and Section 13(1) of the Federal High Court Act, 2004.
EFCC listed some of the property acquired with illicit funds through Fayose’s fronts to include those on 32 Yedseram Street and 44 Osun River Crescent, Maitama, Abuja and those on Plot 100 Tiamiyu Savage Street, Victoria Island.
According to the EFCC source, the four duplexes are valued at $1.3m (N364m) each and were allegedly bought through a company, known as “JJ Technical.”
In preparation for Fayose’s trial, EFCC had in a 10-paragraph counter-affidavit deposed to by Tosin Owobo, accused Fayose of using the proceeds of crime to purchase the said property.
“Apart from fraudulently retaining the sum of N1, 219,490,000 being part of the N4.7 billion stolen from the treasury of the Federal Government through the Office of the National Security Adviser, the applicant (Fayose) has also received gratification in form of kickbacks from various contractors with the Ekiti State Government
“That the applicant (Fayose) also used the name of one Mrs. Moji Ladeji (the applicant’s sister) to acquire a property situated at 44, Osun Crescent, Maitama Abuja, from the proceeds of the alleged offences of receiving gratification and kickbacks.”
Fayose caused a stir when he arrived the Wuse 2 Office of the EFCC on Formella Street.
Spotting a pair of Jeans trousers and a fez cap to match and clutching a black bag believed to contain some vital documents relating to his case, Fayose looked defiant and boisterous, smiling all through.
Accompanied by hordes of supporters, Fayose spoke poignantly, saying that he had kept his promise to report there on October 16 and that there was no need for the EFCC to block his street in Abuja.
The former governor said: “As I have promised, I have fulfilled my words that come 16th of October I will be at the EFCC office, my decision to come here is in line with my words.”
Incidentally, Fayose’s reporting at the EFCC office coincided with the inauguration of his successor, John Kayode Fayemi, who also handed over to the former in 2014.
But Rivers State Governor, Nyesome Wike, who accompanied Fayose to the EFCC, pleaded with the agency to treat his former colleague with dignity and decency, having voluntarily presented himself to the commission.
Wike said the former governor deserved to be praised for keeping his promise and not running away at the end of his tenure.
He was accompanied into the EFCC premises with his lawyer Mike Ozekhome, SAN. It was not clear as at press time if Fayose would be granted administrative bail by the EFCC.
Fayose refused to become an APC saint —PDP
Reacting to the development, the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Prince Diran Odeyemi, said that the allegations raised against Fayose were the same raised against Senators Musiliu Obanikoro and Iyiola Omisore who, however, by defecting to the APC became saints in the eyes of the EFCC.
“It is unfortunate that EFCC could play into the hands of Nigerians showing itself as agents of the APC government. The allegation that they are raising against him of collecting election money from the NSA is the same allegation that was raised against Senators Musiliu Obanikoro and Iyiola Omisore who by the time they joined the APC became saints.
“If Fayose had also decided to join the APC he could also have become a saint. Nevertheless, we salute his courage and we are with him in prayers.”