Monday, 20 June 2016

EFCC has frozen the personal account of Fayose’s

Campaign funds: EFCC freezes Fayose’s account
So, this is what has happened,” he told New Telegraph. It learnt that the freezing of the account was in connection with the ongoing investigation of campaign funds for the June 2014 governorship election in Ekiti State.

Zenith Bank. Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwajaren, told New Telegraph that nobody is above investigation.

“Governors only have immunity against prosecution not investigation. So, if in the course of investigation, the EFCC traces suspicious transactions to an account, it will block the account no matter the status of the owner of such account.

Officials of the EFCC had last week raided the Ikoyi, Lagos residence of the former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, in connection with the governorship election in Ekiti State.

The governor, who spoke on the freezing of his account in a chat with journalists at the premises of the bank in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, yesterday, blamed President Muhammadu Buhari for the move by the anti-graft agency.

“The Federal Government lacks the power to freeze my account. If such must be done, they have to follow due process,” he said. Fayose explained that he got wind that his account had been frozen but needed to confirm by visiting the bank located at Onigari GRA area of the state capital and issuing a countercheque, upon presentation of which he was informed the account had been restricted.

Citing Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution, Fayose said he enjoys immunity as a sitting governor. His words: “If you want to fight corruption, you fight corruption based on rule of law.

I’m a sitting governor and under Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution I enjoy immunity. When they did this in 2006 based on the poultry project allegation, court refused to attach my properties. “You must do anything you want to do within the ambit of law.

This government has no respect for constitutional provisions. They should not be in a hurry. In 2018, I will be done. I will come to them myself. I have become a figure in this country that I have nowhere to go. “This rascality of EFCC must stop.

Did they not contest election? Where did they get the funds from? Is it because they are the sitting government? So, any other person that conducted election apart from the All Progressives Congress (APC) is a thief?

We will take every legal step to get things right. They can’t continue with this rascality. “I’m not leaving this bank until they have given me a statement confirming that the account has been frozen because on their system they said my account is restricted by the EFCC and they must put it into writing because EFCC under the law has no power to touch my property. “It is not new.

I fight every day and God grants me victory every day. They want to destabilise this state; they want to take the state at all cost and it is not going to be possible. I’m on ground. I’m not going to shy away for life, death or incarceration.

They will not coerce me and take away my rights. “They did not communicate me. They want to destabilise the state and we will use all legal means to make them obey the constitution. They can investigate me, but they can’t coerce me,” the governor said.

Fayose stated that Buhari was not a saint, alleging that the president’s wife, Aisha, was discovered to have been involved in the Jefferson’s Halliburton scandal in the United States during ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration. He said: “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. When that American, Jefferson, was being sentenced, the president’s wife, Aisha, 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. So, Buhari and APC should not see themselves as saint.” A professor of Law, Itse Sagay (SAN), has justified the freezing of the governor’s account.

Sagay told New Telegraph that the EFCC was only investigating not prosecuting Fayose. His words: “The court can freeze account of persons who the EFCC is investigating when they suspect that some assets consist of proceeds of crimes.

They can apply to court to get the court order to freeze those assets pending the completion of investigation and then possible prosecution. “Immunity protects a governor from being arrested and tried but it doesn’t protect him from being investigated.

So, from what happened, probably there is an investigation and as a result of that, they have identified some assets, which they regards as being proceeds of crimes they are investigating now.

“Anybody who is being prosecuted always looks for political reasons. I think the best way to debunk any investigation and trial is come out and challenge the person, EFCC or any other agencies to prove it.

That is the best way and if you prove it and they cannot prove it, you can then say you have been vindicated. You should stop saying everything is political, that is blackmail as far as I am concerned.” But Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) differed. He described the action as illegal.

“It is illegal and barbaric for the account of a sitting governor who enjoys immunity under Section 308 of the constitution to be restricted, frozen or blocked. The governor enjoys immunity in conjunction with president, vice president and deputy governor.

And Section 308 says you cannot initiate any criminal proceedings against them when they are still in office, until they leave office. And if you are blocking an account of a sitting governor purportedly to investigate him, and investigation can only lead to prosecution and you cannot prosecute him.

“So, it throws us back to the Hobbesian state of nature when life was short, nasty and brutish. And it invokes sad memories of military dictatorship for the account of a sitting governor to be frozen and I think we should not go down low to that level.”

New Telegraph had last week exclusively reported that accounts of leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had been frozen by the EFCC in continuation of investigation into the campaign funds for the 2015 general elections.