N4.7b Arms Cash: EFCC Traces Three Mansions to Fayose’s Associate
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission( EFCC) has traced three posh houses to an associate of Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose.
The houses, one in Abuja and two in Lagos, are believed to have been bought with part of the N1.219billion pumped into the 2014 governorship election. The cash believed to be from the office of the National security Adviser (NSA). Fayose has denied having any dealing with the office while Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.) was in charge.
The cash, detectives believe, was from the N4.745billion allocated to a former Minister of state (Defence) Musiliu Obanikoro by the ONSA as a war chest to win the governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states in 2014.
The EFCC has facts to believe that the associate allegedly acted as a front for the governor, who is under investigation.
The agency may seize the properties under the Interim Forfeiture Clause of the EFCC Act.
According to a source, investigators have established a link between the N1.29billion and the three mansions.
The source said: “We have been able to trace the three mansions in Abuja and Lagos to a key associate of Fayose. Our investigators have retrieved relevant documents, including the mode of payment for the houses.
“Part of the N1.29billion credited to Fayose was used for the acquisition of the mansions. We are suspecting that the associate allegedly acted as a front for the governor. We will certainly invoke the appropriate laws to seize the assets after conclusion of investigation.”
The Forfeiture Order in Sections 26 and 29 of the EFCC Act reads: “Any property subject to forfeiture under this Act may be seized by the commission in the following circumstances- (a) the seizure is incidental to an arrest or search; or (b) in the case of property liable to forfeiture upon process issued by the court following an application made by the Commission in accordance with the prescribed rules
“Whenever property is seized under any of the provisions of this Act, the Commission may-(a) place the property under seal; or (b) remove the property to a place designated by the Commission.
“Properties taken or detained under this section shall be deemed to be in custody of the Commission, subject only to an order of a court.”
The EFCC is said to be probing clues on the governor’s alleged acquisition of a choice property in Dubai.
“We are looking at these clues and exploring the Mutual Legal Assistance understanding between Nigeria and the UAE to authenticate the information at our disposal and to take necessary legal action,” the source said, pleading not to be named “so as not to jeopardise the investigation”.
Also yesterday, First Lady Aisha Buhari demanded a retraction of Fayose’s allegation in which he claimed to have uncovered how Mrs. Buhari was mentioned as having transferred funds to a convicted former United States (U.S.) lawmaker, Williams Jefferson.
In a letter dispatched through her legal representatives, Mrs. Buhari said Fayose’s action was directly responsible for the publication of the “very wild and unfounded” allegations in the media.
According to online newspaper Premium Times, a copy of the letter sent to the governor is titled: “Demand for unqualified retraction of the false statement published by you in various media on the 20th of June, 2016, and subsequent dates regarding our client, Her Excellency, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, the wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR.” The First Lady gave Mr. Fayose five working days to retract the statement or face a legal action.
“Our client has referred to us statement made by you and published on the 20th of June, 2016 (and other subsequent days) concerning and pertaining to her person for necessary action.
“The said statement which was caused by you and your agents to be widely circulated and published in various media platforms: print, electronic and online such as PREMIUM TIMES www.premiumtimesng.com on 20th of June, 2016, contains very wild, unfounded and false allegations and imputations against the person of our client.
“Specifically, in the said statement credited to you and signed by your Chief Press Secretary, Idowu Adelusi, you, inter alia, falsely stated as follows:
“Even the president cannot claim to be an angel. The estate he built in Abuja is known to us. His wife was indicted over the Halliburton scandal (sic). When that American, Jefferson, was being sentenced, the President’s wife was mentioned as having wired $170,000 to Jefferson. Her name was on page 25 of the sentencing of Jefferson. We can serialise the judgement for people to see and read,” Ismaila Alasa and Mary Ekpene, who signed the letter on behalf of the law firm, said.
Follow us on Twitter @theglobengr