The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has obtained a remand order from a Federal Capital Territory High Court to keep former Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State for two weeks, The PUNCH can confirm.
The remand order, it was learnt, is subject to renewal which implies that Fayose could spend longer than two weeks in custody.
A reliable source said, “We have obtained a court order to hold Fayose for at least two weeks pending investigation. He could be released earlier or later than two weeks depending on the outcome of investigation.”
Fayose is under probe for allegedly receiving N1.3bn from the Office of the National Security Adviser through a former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, during the build-up to the 2014 governorship election in Ekiti State.
However, sources within the commission revealed to The PUNCH that Fayose was also under probe for allegedly receiving kickbacks from government contractors through his aide, Abiodun Agbele, who is currently standing trial for fraud.
The EFCC source said, “We have many cases against Fayose being handled by three different teams. We cannot just arraign him immediately. We want to do a thorough job before taking him to court.”
Meanwhile, the lawyer to Fayose, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), told The PUNCH on the telephone that if the EFCC failed to release the former governor on Thursday (today), the commission would be sued for breaching Fayose’s fundamental human rights.
Ozekhome said the EFCC began investigating Fayose over two years ago and that he wondered why the agency would decide to hold him for over 24 hours.
He said the commission could not force Fayose to write any statement as he reserved the right to remain silent.
The senior advocate said any move to obtain a remand order would amount to illegality because the Supreme Court had made that clear.
The lawyer said since Fayose’s accounts had been frozen and his properties seized by the commission, there was nothing for the ex-governor to tell the EFCC as the matter was already in court.
Ozekhome added, “His lawyers will consider approaching the court for the enforcement of his fundamental human rights if he is not released on Thursday. Section 35 and 36 of the constitution are clear on this.
“He is not a flight risk. He willingly submitted himself to the EFCC even earlier than the time he was supposed to come. What the EFCC is doing is nothing but media trial.
“From the way they have been chasing Fayose in the last three years, one would have expected that the EFCC would have completed its investigations and would arrest him immediately his tenure expires and charge him the next day but that is not the case.
“They want him to write a statement by force and then use the statement against him instead of using their own evidence.”
On its part, the South-West Zone of the Peoples Democratic Party on Wednesday warned the EFCC not to detain Fayose for more than 48 hours before charging him to court.
In a statement issued by the Publicity Secretary of the party in the zone, Mr Ayo Fadaka, the party said, “It is now going to 48 hours that he submitted himself to the agency and he is still being held incommunicado, this development proves that the claim by the EFCC that it is actually working in public interest is a lie. It is merely playing a partisan card as attested to by its unfortunate tweet in the immediate aftermath of the Ekiti election.
“We, therefore, hold firmly that if Fayose is not charged to court immediately to answer to whatever charges against him, then it will be very clear that the Buhari administration is merely using the EFCC to intimidate, harass and punish him in the most unjust manner.”
Meanwhile, Fayose has said the statement credited to Governor Kayode Fayemi that his administration was an error is a mere political statement that shouldn’t be taken seriously.
He said the Ekiti people knew that his first and second administrations were never an error but rather ones that brought unparalleled blessings and development to the state.
Fayose reacted through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Idowu Adelusi, in a press release issued in Ado Ekiti on Wednesday.
He said, “If Fayemi said the administration of Fayose is an error, then the road projects, the High Court Complex, the Adunni Olayinka Women Development Centre, the new Governor’s Office, the Ministry of Finance building, the flyover bridge, the construction of chalets and renovation of buildings in the Government House, among others, are errors.
“The old Governor’s Office used by Governor Fayemi during his first tenure was built by Fayose and now that providence has bestowed a second term on his shoulder, he will operate from the new Governor’s Office also built by Fayose. Are these errors as well?”