The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has seized some properties said to belong to Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State.
It was learnt that the properties located in the highbrow areas of Lagos and Abuja were seized as part of investigations into the N1.219bn the governor allegedly received from the Office of the National Security Adviser when Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd) held sway, through a former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, as well as some kickbacks he (Fayose) allegedly received from the Ekiti State Government contractors.
Investigators said that the seized houses belonging to Fayose were allegedly purchased with stolen funds and 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.
The seizure came less than a month after the governor’s three Zenith Bank accounts were frozen by the anti-graft agency.
On a visit to two of the properties on 32 Yedseram Street and 44 Osun River Crescent, Maitama, Abuja, observed the inscriptions ‘EFCC, Keep Off’ on the fences.
According to court documents filed by the EFCC, the property on Osun River Crescent was bought by Fayose in the name of his London-based sister, Mrs. Moji Ladeji.
The governor reportedly pulled down the structure of one of the Abuja properties and started building a new one.
The two properties, which are uncompleted buildings, were said to be worth over N470m.
It was learnt that the properties in Lagos were four duplexes located at Plot 100 Tiamiyu Savage Street, Victoria Island. The four duplexes cost $1.3m (N364m) each.
They were allegedly bought through a company, JJ Technical.
The EFCC had in a 10-paragraph counter-affidavit deposed to by Tosin Owobo accused Fayose of using the proceeds of crime to purchase properties.
The affidavit read in part, “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.”
In his reaction, however, Fayose said all properties linked to him were not bought with stolen funds.
In a statement by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, the governor said any property that might be linked to him or his company was “bought legitimately and his properties were duly declared in his assets declaration form and sources of such funds were not illicit.”
He said since the money he got for his election was from legitimate sources and not from the ONSA, “how the money was spent remained his own business and not that of anyone.”
Mrs. Oyin Daramola, an estate agent and owner of Still Earth Ltd, was quoted as telling investigators that she indeed sold the Victoria Island properties to Fayose. She said she rejected the idea of receiving payment through contracts.