The immediate past Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, honoured an invitation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Tuesday after losing his immunity from prosecution and arrest.
After leading Fayose to the interrogation room, it was learnt that he was asked to write a statement explaining how he spent N1.3bn he allegedly received from the Office of the NSA through a former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, during the build-up to the 2014 governorship election in Ekiti State.
Senior EFCC officials asked him to return the money…
A source at the EFCC, however, told The Punch that the former governor refused to admit to collecting the money.
He said, “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.
“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.”
It was learnt that as of 7pm on Tuesday, the former governor was still writing his statement.
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 then governorship candidate of the PDP in Osun State in 2014, Senator Iyiola Omisore.
The funds were said to have been transported from Lagos to Ekiti State by air.
Since the investigation began in 2015, the EFCC has interrogated over 20 persons.
Apart from Obanikoro and Omisore, others interrogated by the EFCC include Captain Ahmed Borodo, the pilot whose plane was allegedly chartered by Obanikoro; Aide-de-Camp to Obanikoro, Lt. Olumide Adewale; and Fayose’s aide, Abiodun Agbele (who is standing trial for allegedly receiving the funds on behalf of Fayose).
Others interrogated include BDC operators and senior bank executives.
“Despite the statements made by all these people indicating that Fayose received money, the man is still denying the allegations,” an EFCC detective said.
However, Fayose’s lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), said Fayose would not compromise himself in the name of administrative bail.
Ozekhome said Fayose’s accounts had already been frozen by the commission and he was already in court over the matter.
On whether Fayose would return the money as demanded by the EFCC, Ozekhome said, “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.
“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?
Addressing reporters before making his way into the EFCC, Fayose said, “I am here in line with my promise that I will be here on the October 16.
“And, as I said to the EFCC, they should await my arrival. This morning, they have been to my house; they cordoned off my street, which I feel was unnecessary. It was unwarranted.
“When a man says he is coming, Nigerians should be given benefit of the doubt.
“I had led Ekiti, and the best I could give, I have given. Therefore, every question, whatever they need to ask today, I will be able to respond appropriately.”
Also speaking, Governor Wike said he accompanied Fayose in order to warn the EFCC to respect his rights.
His lawyer, Mike Ozekhome (SAN) asked the EFCC not to keep Fayose for more than 24 hours as failure to release him would be an abuse of his rights.
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