A close friend of Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose, who is alleged to have received huge cash from former Minister of State (Defence) Musiliu Obanikoro on behalf of the governor, has been arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Mr. Abiodun Agbele is reportedly detained at the Lagos office of the EFCC.
EFCC spokesman Wilson Uwujaren confirmed Agbele’s arrest.
Fayose’s spokesman, Lere Olayinka also confirmed the arrest
In a statement, Olayinka said: “Our attention has been drawn to the arrest of Mr Abiodun Agbele by the EFCC and we wish to say that we encourage the EFCC to carry out its investigations without politics as it is being done now.
“It must be pointed out that at no time was Mr Abiodun Agbele invited by the EFCC, and if he had been invited, he would have honoured the invitation. Therefore, there is nothing to celebrate in his arrest if it is not political.
“As already pointed out, Governor Ayodele Fayose does not have anything to do with any fund from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA). He has stated how his election was funded and Zenith Bank that he said funded his election has not denied doing so.”
Fayose may not be able to travel abroad for a while because of the ongoing investigation of about N4.745billion slush funds traced to him, ex-Minister of Defence Musiliu Obanikoro and firms linked to a former Deputy Governor of Osun State, Otunba Iyiola Omisore
Fayose risks arrest in some countries, especially the United Kingdom where he is not covered by the immunity clause in Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution.
Some of his former colleagues, the late Diepreye Alamieyeseigha and Joshua Dariye, were arrested and quizzed by the London Metropolitan Police when they underwent a similar investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The Federal Government has a number of Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) with more countries which may make foreign trips difficult for Fayose.
The EFCC has launched a manhunt for two aides of Obanikoro.
They are Ms Idowu Oshodi and Olalekan Ogunseye, who the EFCC believes have travelled out of the country.
Idowu is believed to be in London. The anti-graft agency is “collaborating with the relevant agencies in the UK for appropriate action about her”.
The clues available to the EFCC suggest that Ogunseye must have gone to the United States, it was learnt.
Although Ikenna Ezekwe was invited, the EFCC did not find anything linking him with the alleged fraud.
According to sources, Fayose has been technically watch-listed by the EFCC since he is under investigation.
A source said: “With his accounts frozen, Fayose is already technically watch-listed by the EFCC. His immunity does not go beyond the shores of Nigeria.
“ Nigeria now has a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty(MLAT) with many countries and we are not obliged to make the list available to any governor or political office holder.
“He has the option of staying at home or taking a risk to travel abroad like some governors did in the past and face the wrath of the law. Some of these slush funds drawn from the Office of the National Security Adviser(ONSA) have their accounts domiciled abroad.
“Whatever is the case, we are going ahead with the ongoing investigation of the governor, ex-Minister of Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro and some firms linked to a former Deputy Governor of Osun State, Otunba Iyiola Omisore.”
Ms. Idowu is a director of Sylvan Mcnamara Limited, allegedly owned by Obanikoro and his sons, which was allegedly used to launder the N4.745billion.
Oshodi, who owns 299,000 shares in Mcnamara, is said to be living in London after parting ways with the Obanikoros.
The top source added: “We need to interact with Oshodi and Ogunseye or else we may be forced to declare them wanted if they do not honour our invitation. At a point, Ogunseye was a signatory to the account of Mcnamara.”
One of those who know how the N4.745billion was shared by Fayose, Obanikoro and Omisore opened up yesterday.
The source said: “It is true the cash was transferred from ONSA to the account of Sylvan Mcnamara Limited. I don’t know why all the key actors have not owned up at all. The EFCC did a thorough job on this scandal; there is no doubt about it.
“When the cash came, Fayose actually got about N2.2billion, not the N1.219billion being reported. Also, about N1.7billion was transferred into the accounts of some companies for Omisore. There are records of all these transfers to these firms for Omisore in some banks.
“Out of the hefty sum, only N800million was allocated to Obanikoro because it was not yet time for the 2015 poll.”
“The ex-Minister actually chartered a plane which ran two flights to Akure Airport on the day the cash was delivered to Fayose.
“Obanikoro was accompanied by a DSS operative and his Aide-de-Camp from the Nigerian Navy.
They were on the chartered plane with him. All these officers are still in service; they knew what transpired. The flight manifest is with FAAN. Those who loaded the cash onto the plane are alive.
“At the appropriate time, some of us will come out to testify on what we knew about the slush funds.”