The drama involving the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, has taken a new turn.
Recall that the ex-gov, who has now lost his immunity from prosecution and arrest, yesterday honoured the invitation by the anti-graft agency.
And now, Punch is reporting that he was asked to write a statement explaining how he spent N1.3bn he allegedly received from the Office of the National Security Adviser through a former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, during the build-up to the 2014 governorship election in Ekiti State.
Then the commission also asked him to return the money, but Fayose refused to admit to collecting the money.
“We have treated Fayose with respect since he arrived in our office. We asked him about the money he received from Obanikoro and when he would return it but he is denying everything,” said a source in the agency to Punch, adding, “He said in his statement on oath that he never received any money despite the overwhelming evidence. The man is refusing to cooperate despite the overwhelming evidence we have.”
The questioning continued until 7pm on Tuesday, as the former governor was still writing his statement.
Punch ads that the funds allegedly traced to Fayose were said to be part of the N4.7bn allegedly handed to Obanikoro by the then National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.). While about N1.3bn was given to Fayose, another N1.3bn was also handed over to the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in Osun State in 2014, Senator Iyiola Omisore.
These funds were said to have been transported from Lagos to Ekiti State by air. And has been under investigation since 2015, with the EFCC having interrogated over 20 persons regarding the claims.
“Despite the statements made by all these people indicating that Fayose received money, the man is still denying the allegations,” an EFCC source continues.
And reacting to this update, Fayose’s lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), said Fayose would not compromise himself in the name of administrative bail.
“Which money are they saying he should return? Has he said any money is with him? They won’t dare tell him to return the money,” said Ozekhome. “Fayose is not like other Nigerians that the EFCC will bamboozle and force and blackmail to make refunds. Why tell a man to refund the money he has not admitted to receiving when the matter is in court? If they offer him an administrative bail with no strings attached, which is not a Greek gift, then he should take it.”
Ozekhome then informed the EFCC not to keep Fayose for more than 24 hours as failure to release him would be an abuse of his rights.
We can’t wait to see how this pans out.