Kamarudeen Ogundele, Ado Ekiti
The Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has again written the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, rejecting the commission’s request that he should report on September 20 for questioning over monies allegedly traced to his account.
The governor said the date suggested by the commission despite his letter indicating readiness to appear on October 16 was smacked of hatred, persecution and partiality.
The governor, however, said the anti-graft agency could send its investigators to meet him in his office on September 20 if it was so much in a hurry that its investigation could not wait till October 16, 2018 – the first day after the expiration of his tenure.
“Without prejudice to Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution, I will be willing to answer questions from your team of investigators should they be willing to meet me in my office in Ado Ekiti on the 20th of September, 2018 indicated in the EFCC’s letter dated September 13, 2018,” he said.
Fayose, according to a press release issued on Tuesday by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, said the letter written by the EFCC to the Customs and other agencies, directing them to put him on their watch list and arrest him if he attempted to leave Nigeria before the expiration of his tenure raised serious question about the impartiality, independence or neutrality of the commission.
Reminding the EFCC that he had on December 19, 2007, willingly presented himself for investigation at its Lagos office after his first tenure, Fayose added that there was nothing new or strange in his September 10 letter, which he said, had been received and treated in a bad taste.
The September 14 letter read, “As a responsible citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who currently enjoys immunity under Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution, it would amount to a breach of the constitution which I swore to uphold if I appear in your office on any date earlier than 16th October, 2018. If done otherwise, it will set a wrong precedent for the constitutional institution that I represent.
“I carefully chose that date (October 16, 2018) being the next day after the expiration of my tenure upon which the immunity I enjoy will lapse to avoid any form of insinuation and was in good faith.
“While drafting my response to your letter of 14th September, 2018 my attention was drawn to your widely publicised letter of 12th September, 2018 to the Comptroller General, Nigeria Customs Service and similar agencies, directing them to put me on the watch list and arrest me on an imagination that I might leave Nigeria to escape investigation. It has finally put in context, your commission’s hurriedly deleted online statement vide EFCC Nigeria @OfficialEFCC a day after the Ekiti governorship election that, ‘The parri is over; the clock of immunity turn apart, and the staff broken. Ekiti Integrated Poultry Project/Biological Concepts Limited N1.3bn fraud case file dusted off the shelves. See you soon.’
“Your commission by its actions, no doubt, has presumed my ‘guilt’ even prior to the commencement of “investigation.” This raises a serious question about the impartiality, independence or neutrality of the commission in the matter. I feel harassed, intimidated and embarrassed by the imputation of crime and the innuendos of criminality underlining your correspondence which has been maliciously circulated widely. This in all implies a case of persecution rather than prosecution.
“While I have handed a copy of your letter to my solicitors for a careful study and advice, let me state here for the records, that there is nothing about me or my antecedents, as a long-standing public figure to justify the commission’s action. I have never been a coward or a criminal.
“You may wish to recall that in 2007, precisely on the 19th day of December, I willingly presented myself for EFCC investigation at your Lagos office. There is therefore nothing new or strange in my letter of 10th September, 2018 which has been received and treated in bad faith and taste. I thought I was assisting due and fair process of law.
“Notwithstanding the demonstrated hate and prejudice, I reaffirm my willingness to make myself available to answer questions within my knowledge on the day you may indicate after the expiration of my term of office on the 15th October, 2018. If for any good reasons, your investigation cannot await the date suggested in my earlier letter, without prejudice to Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution, I will be willing to answer questions from your team of investigators should they be willing to meet me in my office in Ado Ekiti on the 20th day of September, 2018 indicated in yours.
“Save as above, I will appreciate any date convenient to you after 15th October 2018, otherwise, expect me on the 16th October 2018 at 1 pm as earlier stated.”
All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.
Read Full Story