The Punch reports that more trouble seems to be brewing for Governor Ayodele Fayose as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission seized his properties located in Lagos and Abuja. The Ekiti state governor has been under the radar of the EFCC over the alleged transfer of N1.219bn from the office of the national security adviser to Ekiti in the build-up to the state’s gubernatorial election in 2014 which Fayose eventually won.
It was reported that the governor got the money through Senator Musiliu Obanikoro who allegedly transported the fund from Lagos from a plane to Ekiti. Obanikoro has since fled Nigeria to the US. The properties were located in the highbrow areas of the state and were seized because they were purchased with stolen fund.
The EFCC invoked 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. Two of the properties located in 32 Yedseram Street and 44 Osun River Crescent, Maitama, Abuja had the inscription ‘EFCC, Keep Off’ on the fences.
According to the EFCC, the property on Osun River Crescent was purchased in the name of Mrs. Moji Ladeji, Fayose’s sister who is based in London. The two properties in Abuja are reportedly worth N470 million. The properties in Lagos were four duplexes located at Plot 100 Tiamiyu Savage Street, Victoria Island and they cost $1.3m (N364m) each.
In a court affidavit by the EFCC, the anti-graft agency accused Fayose of using public fund for his own benefit. Part of the affidavit read:
“Apart from fraudulently retaining the sum of N1, 219,490,000 being part of the N4, 745,000,000 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 such as Samchese Nigeria Ltd, Tender Branch Concept Nig. Ltd, Hoff Concept Ltd and Calibre Consulting Ltd.”
“The applicant (Fayose) received these kickbacks and gratification through Still Earth Ltd and Signachorr Nigeria Limited. In turn, the applicant (Fayose) instructed the Still Earth Ltd and Signachoor Nigeria Limited to use the funds to acquire properties for him. “In complying with the applicant’s instruction, Still Earth Limited and Signachoor Nigeria Limited acquired properties on behalf of the applicant (Fayose) in the name of a company known as J.J Technical Services Limited belonging to the applicant (Fayose) and his wife (Feyisetan).”
“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.” Governor Fayose has however denied the allegation and said all his properties were “bought legitimately and his properties were duly declared in his assets declaration form and sources of such funds were not illicit.”
Fayose insisted that he wasn’t afraid of the media trial of the EFCC saying:
“The anti-corruption agency and its collaborators in the All Progressives Congress (APC) should not be in a hurry in their ill-motive, rather they should wait till 2018 after my tenure when I will confront their lies.”
He also said:
“The EFCC did more than this in 2006 but when I challenged their cooked up stories on poultry project in the court, the EFCC failed to substantiate all their allegations against me and their case crumbled like a pack of cards.”