EFCC Charges Fayose, Hotel With N1.3bn Fraud, Keeps Mum On Ganduje

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has filed corruption charges against a former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, and his hotel, Spotless Investment Limited, Saturday PUNCH has learnt.

It was learnt that the EFCC filed the charges before the Federal High Court in Abuja.

Fayose is accused of receiving about N1.3bn when he “ought to have known that the said fund formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful activity of Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), the then National Security Adviser, and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended in 2012) and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act.”

The former governor was accused of sending his aide, Abiodun Agbele, to receive about N1.3bn from a former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, sometime in June 2014.

The money was said to have emanated from Dasuki’s office.

According to the EFCC, the N1.3bn was flown to Akure Airport and Obanikoro handed over the money to Agbele, who is also standing trial for corruption.

The EFCC said officials of Zenith Bank arrived at the Akure Airport tarmac in a bullion van to convey all the cash to the bank’s vault located at 13, Alagbaka Estate, Akure.

Attached as evidence are bank tellers Agbele allegedly gave as bank instructions at different times to pay in money into Fayose’s Zenith Bank account even after the elections.

According to the commission, Agbele directed the bank to pay N137m into the account of Ayodele Fayose with number 1003126654 and Bank Verification Number 22338867502. The bank teller dated June 26, 2014, was filled by Agbele with teller number 0556814.

Agbele also allegedly directed the bank to transfer N118,760,000 to the same account and paid in N50m cash into Fayose’s account.

The commission said on April 7, 2015, several months later, Fayose personally moved N300m to his fixed deposit account at Zenith Bank with number 9013074033 with his same BVN.

The account is domiciled at 15 Olusola Abiona Street, Estate, Alapere, Ketu, Lagos.

According to the anti-graft agency, on the instruction of Fayose, Agbele deposited N100m to the account of Spotless Investment Limited, a hotel which is owned by Fayose and his wife, Olayemi.

Fayose allegedly used part of the money to buy houses in Abuja and Lagos. The houses have since been seized while his bank accounts with a balance of N380m have been frozen.

No date has been fixed for hearing.

Meanwhile, the EFCC has refused to comment on viral video clips which show Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State allegedly receiving bribes in dollars from contractors.

In the videos, which were first posted by an online news medium, Daily Nigerian, Ganduje was seen receiving wads of dollar bills said to be part-payment of $5m allegedly given to him as a kickback from government contractor.

The Kano State House of Assembly had on Monday constituted a seven-man ad hoc committee to investigate and unravel the authenticity of the video.

In an earlier report also, Daily Nigerian had claimed that the video had been authenticated by experts and that security agencies had played the video for President Muhammadu Buhari to watch.

However, attempts to get the EFCC to speak on the matter since Wednesday up till Friday have proved abortive.

When contacted on the telephone, the Spokesperson for the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, said he would find out if the matter was under investigation and respond appropriately.

“I will find out and get back to you,” he said.

However, subsequent calls put through to Uwujaren were not answered while a text message sent to him was not replied to as of press time on Friday.

Meanwhile, the Presidency on Friday said there was little or nothing President Muhammadu Buhari could do about the viral video.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said this in an interview with our correspondent.

Saturday PUNCH had sought to know if the President was aware of the video and if he would invite the governor to hear from him.

But Shehu said the governor was not accountable to the President.

He noted that the Kano State House of Assembly, that is constitutionally empowered to handle such cases, had already started investigating the matter.

The presidential spokesman said, “We all know that the governor is not accountable to the President. The House of Assembly is empowered by law to handle the case and we are all aware that the assembly has started investigating the matter.

“If we were in the military era, a military Head of State could question a military governor on matters like this. But it is not applicable in a democracy.

“The growing concern by some people has been that the anti-corruption fight at the federal level is not getting to the state and local government levels.

“But the President is helpless as far as the two other tiers of government are concerned. The President can’t force the state and local governments. He has no such powers under the constitution.”

Meanwhile, the committee constituted by the state House of Assembly to probe the authenticity of the video clip, has summoned the Daily Nigerian Editor-in-Chief, Ja’afar Ja’afar, to appear before it. The committee’s Secretary, Mujtafa Adamu Aminu, made the disclosure during an interview with journalists in Kano on Friday.

He said the committee had in a letter dated October 19, 2018, requested the Daily Nigerian boss to appear before it on Thursday, October 26, 2018 at the Assembly Complex.

According to him, the committee had already visited the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Rabi’u Yusuf, and the state Director of the Department of State Services, with a view to soliciting their support to provide security at the complex, venue of the sitting.

(Saturday Punch)

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