The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has seized six choice properties allegedly acquired by Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State with stolen public funds.
The duplexes, estimated at N1.350 billion, include four in Lagos and two in Abuja.
They were allegedly acquired for him by his associate, Abiodun Agbele, and sister, Moji Ladeji.
A furious Ladeji has approached the Federal High Court, Ado-Ekiti laying claim to one of the Abuja duplexes.
The EFCC, according to impeccable sources, believe that the properties were bought with public funds, including the N1.219 billion slush fund from the Office of the National Security
Adviser handed over to Fayose by former Minister of Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, and bribe money from contractors.
Part of the funds came from the N4.745 billion, which was paid into Obanikoro’s company, Sylva Mcnamara, by ONSA for the 2014 Ekiti State governorship poll.
Operatives of the anti-graft commission have located and marked the duplexes as follows: 44, Osun Crescent and 32, Yedseram Street in Maitama, Abuja; and houses 3, 4, 6, and 9 in Plot 100, Tiamiyu Savage Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.
EFCC sources said the funds were wired to pay for the duplexes.
While the duplex on Osun Crescent was allegedly bought for N200 million from Skye Bank Plc, the one located in Yedseram Street in Abuja was purchased for N270 million from a businessman, Rabi Kundili.
All the houses in Lagos were paid for by Abiodun Agbele, the detained associate of the governor, who is currently under investigation.
Agbele allegedly paid over N880 million for the Lagos properties.
Sources said the duplexes were “acquired within 180 days in office by Fayose.
“We have discovered that he paid for the houses through his associate’s company, De-Privateer Limited of Agbele.
“De-Privateer remitted slush funds into three accounts including FCMB (0519693019), First Bank of Nigeria (1000070240) and Zenith Bank (1014016919).
“The payments were made as follows: First Bank—N40m (29/1/15); N39.5m (30/1/15); N132.5 (30/1/ 15); N3.2m (4/2/15); N980, 000(4/2/15); N200m (17/2/15); N47m (13/2/15); N50m (13/2/15).
“The lodgements in an account in Zenith Bank (1014016919) included N42.5m (9/4/15); N25m (23/4/15); and N229m (6/3/15).
“About N200 million was paid into FCMB account 0519693019 on March 9, 2015.”
The source said the anti-graft agency seized the properties by invoking sections 28 and 34 of the EFCC (Establishment Act) 2004 and Section 13(1) of the Federal High Court Act, 2004, which empower the anti-graft agency to invoke Interim Assets Forfeiture Clause.
“Section 28 of the EFCC Act reads: ‘Where a person is arrested for an offence under this Act, the Commission shall immediately trace and attach all the assets and properties of the person acquired as a result of such economic or financial crime and shall thereafter cause to be obtained an interim attachment order from the Court.’
“Section 13 of the Federal High Court Act reads in part: ‘The Court may grant an injunction or appoint a receiver by an interlocutory order in all cases in which it appears to the Court to be just or convenient so to do.
“(2) Any such order may be made either unconditionally or on such terms and conditions as the Court thinks just.’
“One of the suspects in custody, Agbele, has been linked to the purchase of most of all these properties. In fact, funds for the purchase of these mansions were laundered through the account of Agbele’s company called De-Privateer.
“Since the houses are under investigation, we have decided to invoke the assets forfeiture clause in our Act.”
Responding to a question, the source said: “The EFCC has secured a fresh court order to keep Agbele in custody because the on-going investigation has not been concluded.
“So, the governor’s associate is still in detention because we have invited more people linked with the money laundering for the governor.”
The source confirmed that Fayose’s sister, Moji Ladeji, has filed an affidavit in court, claiming that she is the real owner of the property on Osun Crescent, Maitama District, Abuja.
“We will meet her in court with all the evidence at our disposal,” the source added.
The EFCC had secured a court order from Justice M. B. Idris of the Federal High Court, Lagos to freeze the accounts of Fayose, a development which the governor is already challenging in court.
In an affidavit by an Investigating Officer, Tosin Owobo, the commission said: “That the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in the exercise of his statutory mandate contained in Section 34 of the EFCC Act having satisfied himself that the various sums of money in the account No. 1003126654, 9013074033, 1010170969 and 1013835888 domiciled with the 2nd Respondent were made through the commission of the an economic and financial crimes to wit: stealing and receiving gratification approached the Federal High Court Lagos Judicial Division, for an order directing the Manager of the 2nd Respondent to freeze the said accounts.
“That in his wisdom, Hon. Justice M.B Idris granted the 1st Respondent’s application wherein an order of interim attachment was made on the aforementioned accounts. Attached and marked exhibit EFCC 09 is a certified true copy of the said order.
“That the said order was a preservative order to prevent further dissipation of proceeds of crimes.”
The EFCC also had succeeded in establishing money laundering link between Fayose and Agbele.
Investigation revealed as follows: “The N1, 219, 490,000 was not deposited in any account but it was kept in a vault in the bank. It took the bank officials about 10 days to count. The bankers refused to make entry until it was counted.
“Shortly after confirming the figure, Abiodun was used to coordinate the disbursement of the funds. On June 26, 2014, the wanted associate (Abiodun Agbele) paid N137million into Ayodele Fayose’s account 10003126654 with Zenith Bank through Teller-0556814. Fayose’s BVN on the teller is 22338867502. On August 22, 2014, he paid N50million into the same account. By the records from the bank, Abiodun paid another N118, 760,000 into Fayose’s account on 27/8/14.
“Based on the transfers, Fayose moved N300million to a Fixed Deposit Account No 9013074033 with Zenith Bank at 15, Olusola Abiona Street, Olorunda Estate, Alapere Ketu. He has the same BVN-22338867502.
“After that, Abiodun deposited another N100 million from the N1, 219, 490,000 into Spotless Hotel Account run by Fayose and his wife, Helen Olayemi Fayose with Account No. 1010170969, Fayose’s BVN is 223338867502 and his wife’s BVN in the account is 22298990256.
“The governor and his wife are the two directors and signatories of Spotless Hotel account.”
In the course of the investigation, the EFCC team dug up how De Privateer Limited (a company owned by Abiodun Agbele) with Account No. 1013835889 received the sum of N219, 490,000 on June 18, 2014.
“On June 19, 2014, the same account received N300million and another N200million on June 23, 2014. The BVN of the account is 22235692890.”