The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has recovered four houses in Lagos and two in Abuja allegedly owned by Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose.
The Lagos houses, worth N1billion, and the two Abuja houses, worth N700 million, were alleged to have been bought from proceeds of N4.685 billion public funds allegedly given to both Governor Fayose and Senator Iyiola Omisore by the former national security adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki (retd.), to prosecute their governorship bids.
LEADERSHIP Friday recalls that the EFCC had since launched investigations into how the funds were spent by the trio of Fayose, Omisore and Musliu Obanikoro.
An EFCC source said while Fayose got N1.3 billion and $500 million to aggressively prosecute his governorship bid in Ekiti State against the incumbent, Dr Kayode Fayemi, Omisore got N2.3 billion for his failed bid to govern Osun State.
The funds were reportedly conveyed to Fayose and Omisore by former minister of state (Defence), Obanikoro.
“Obanikoro, who acted as conveyor of the slush funds from the office of former national security adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki, got N700m,” an EFCC source said.
Our source said Fayose allegedly gave $1million to his associate, Abiodun Agbele, who converted it to its naira equivalent, and used same to purchase the Lagos houses, while the governor’s sister, Olayemi Fayose, allegedly facilitated the purchase of the two Abuja houses.
The source, who gave a detailed update on the progress of the investigation, said the recovery of these houses linked to Governor Fayose was part of the outcome of the investigation.
He, however, noted that “Omisore has refunded N350 million while N123 million has been recovered from Obanikoro.”
“Don’t forget that Fayose’s associate has been charged to court. The case against Omisore has been filed while the commission is still considering the prosecution of Obanikoro,” our source disclosed.
When contacted, the EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, declined to comment on the recovery of houses linked to Fayose, but he admitted that “the commission is handling a matter of diversion of funds where his name was mentioned.”
Court Sets Aside 2016 Judgement, Freezes Fayose’s Account
The personal accounts of Ekiti State governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose, with Zenith Bank Plc were yesterday ordered to be frozen by an Appeal Court sitting in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital.
The appeal filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against Fayose’s victory at the Federal High Court, Ado-Ekiti, in December, 2016, had been allowed by the three-man panel led by Justice Joseph Ikyegh.
However, the judgment of the Federal High Court, presided over by Justice Taiwo O. Taiwo, on December 13, 2016, which unfroze Fayose’s two personal accounts with the bank, has been upturned by the Appeal Court.
The EFCC, according to the panel in its brief of appeal, had convinced it that the accounts were used to keep funds suspected to be proceeds of crime.
“The appeal is meritorious, and having resolved all three issues agitated in the appeal in appellant’s favour, that the appeal is hereby allowed.
“That the judgment delivered by Taiwo O. Taiwo of the Federal High Court, Ekiti Judicial Division on 13th of December, 2016, granting the claims of 1st respondent in suit No FHC/AD/CD27/2016 is hereby set aside,” the judge ruled.
On Monday, the EFCC had filed an application before the court to adduce fresh evidence but the court had turned down the motion.
The briefs of the parties in the appeal, the EFCC (the appellant) and Fayose (1st Respondent) and Zenith Bank (2nd Respondent), were adopted and the court adjourned to Thursday for judgment.
The EFCC had contended that Fayose was a citizen of Nigeria and that his accounts could be frozen if they were found to be used to hold proceeds of crime, adding that the immunity enjoyed by the governor did not preclude his account from being frozen.
But counsel to Fayose, Chief Mike Ozekhome, argued before the court that that EFCC Act in question actually states that the name and particulars of the accounts owner must be supplied with the number before it would be frozen.
On the foregrounds, Justice Taiwo vacated ordered that the governor’s accounts be de-frozen due to suppression of facts by the EFCC.
Aggrieved, the EFCC went to the Court of Appeal and filed a motion for stay of execution of the ruling and proceeded to the main appeal.
During the trial of the case, which began since Monday, April 16, the ex-parte order from Justice Idris in Lagos, which was not produced before the Federal High Court in Ado Ekiti before its ruling in favour of Fayose, was brought before the Court of Appeal by the EFCC to support its case.
The Appeal Court judgement that was delivered in Ado Ekiti cited Fawehinmi v. SDP, which said in Section 308 that a sitting governor can be investigated only that he cannot be prosecuted or interrogated and held.
It also said that the fact that EFCC did not include those particulars of the governor and his names was not a suppression of fact.
The Appeal Court allowed the appeal and held that Fayose’s accounts, which were unblocked by the Federal High Court, be frozen.