Contrary to claims by Kayode Fayemi, a former governor of Ekiti State, that he was grilled by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for only a few hours over alleged corruption, SaharaReporters disclosed that the former governor was grilled for several hours before he was granted bail.
The ex-governor was interrogated at the zonal command of the anti-graft agency in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital on Thursday.
Fayemi reportedly arrived at the EFCC office at about 9:40 am.
However, sources has it that the former governor was not allowed to go till 12 midnight.
The former governor was said to have been accompanied by two senior lawyers, Mr. Adeola Omotunde (SAN) and Chief Rufai Balogun.
“Fayemi was grilled over allegations of corrupt enrichment detailed in a petition written by a group of Ekiti indigenes exposing how he used a fake airport project to enrich himself.
“He was also accused of buying houses worth billions of naira in GRA (Government Reservation Area) in Ikeja,” one of the sources said.
SaharaReporters on Thursday reported how the Ekiti Patriotic Consultative Forum (EPCF) petitioned the EFCC, asking it to investigate and prosecute Fayemi for allegedly diverting public funds meant for the construction of the state’s abandoned cargo airport and other capital projects.
Details Of Petition Against Fayemi Over Alleged Corrupt Practices
In the letter obtained by SaharaReporters, dated May 10, 2023, and addressed to the agency’s chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, the group requested that the alleged fraudulent conduct of Fayemi and his cronies should be investigated.
These alleged scams include the allocation of fraudulent security votes for himself as governor, contract inflation, money laundering, and the theft of monies intended for the State Universal Basic Education (SUBEB) scheme.
In October 2022, the Cargo Airport in Ekiti State was officially opened by Fayemi. At 10.20 a.m., an ATR 42 from the Nigerian Air Force touched down on the airport’s runway. Dr. Fayemi claimed the airport was of a world-class standard, but the runaway is 3.2 km long and 60 metres wide, the petition said.
“But it is disappointing to see that the Airport has not been finished several months after the ostensible inauguration. There hasn’t been a control tower yet.
“While the cargo apron is being built runway marking is still going on military jets land anywhere, according to Mr Sam Adurogboye, spokesperson for the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) who admitted that the airport has not been finished. A military aircraft landing at the airport does not always indicate it is fully operational,” the group said.
The group added that Ponti-Italware Nig. Ltd. was paid N115,170,273.32 for earthwork for the New Governor’s Office, but the site was abandoned and little work was done.
The statement continued: “The contract for building the New Governor’s Office was awarded to Messrs Interkel Nig. Ltd. 12 Maitama Sule Street, Southwest Ikoyi, Lagos, on March 12014N2027,495,857.45 was the contract’s total estimated value; Out of the N608,248,757.24 (30%) mobilisation fee N100,000,000 was paid to the contractor with no results show for the payment N5.25 billion bond and N5 billion commercial bank loan.
“To fund capital projects, N25 billion was obtained from the capital market by Dr. Kayode Fayemi during his first term in office between the years 2010 and 2014. This was acquired in two instalments in October 2011 and January 2014, totalling N20 billion and N5 billion.
“The House of Assembly adopted the Bond Prospectus which was not followed since funds were moved to projects that weren’t stated in the Bond Prospectus For instance.
“N1 billion was allocated to build the Civic Centre but N1, 465,401,522.72 from the bond was used, leaving the project unfinished. Additionally, the State Pavilion which received N1,583,292,358 and the overall amount N1,457,945,445.44 was paid to the contractor went unfinished.
“Using Fountain Holdings Limited business with a N15 million share capital to obtain N5 billion loan on June 21, 2014, towards Governorship election in Ekiti State. It was stated that the N5 billion loan would be utilised to carry out major projects like road building since it was received from EcoBank without recourse to the Debt Management Office (DMO).
“Our inquiry is: Does Fountain Holdings Limited have the authority to carry out capital projects for the Ekiti State Government, such as road construction?
“The business’s share capital is N15m, thus we are perplexed as to how EcoBank could provide a N5bn loan to a company with N15m share capital without involving the DMO. Since the N5 billion has not yet been used, it is possible that the loan was taken to support Fayemi’s failed re-election campaign at the time.
“KOURIS Construction Nigeria Limited was given a contract on July 27, 2012 to build a new government building. Initial contract payment was N2,054,573,822.00.
“Curiously on October 102014-five days before Dr. Kayode Fayemi’s administration ended- another N730,186,636.87 contract for further work was given to the same business. It was said that the extra work was required as a consequence of errors in the project’s initial Bill of Quantities.
“Considering that a contract was awarded on July 27th, 2012, why wait until the last moment of the administration on October 102014, when there were five days left that the administration just realised that there were mistakes when the project’s first Bill of Quantities was computed.”
The forum also stated that road rehabilitation contracts were also given out at inflated prices.
In October 2022, SaharaReporters reported that several projects had not been completed at the airport.
It reported that the Air Traffic Control (ATC), which is one of the most important facilities in an airport, had not yet been completed.
SaharaReporters further reported that Fayemi deceived Ekiti people by bribing the Nigerian Air Force to release its fighter jet which could land anywhere by design.
“Nothing has been completed at the airport, only the runway was rushed so that the fighter jet could land there. No plane can land there for now except for the likes of the military jet which can land anyway by design. No control system yet. He bribed and used the Nigerian Air Force to deceive the public that he completed the airport and a military aircraft was deployed, flown by an Ekiti indigene.
“All the visitors that attended the swearing-in flew to Akure from where most were ferried to Ado-Ekiti by helicopter for the ceremony. The new governor didn’t attend the opening of the airport and upon being sworn in, he froze all the state accounts. For now, Fayemi only inaugurated it in his name; so another person doesn’t take the glory. It’s nowhere near completion at all,” a source had told SaharaReporters.
Properties Allegedly Acquired By Fayemi With Ekiti Funds
According to the petition, Fayemi acquired five properties with funds belonging to the Ekiti State Government. Hence, when he left office in 2014 and 2022, he could not publish his assets.
The petition read, “It may interest you to know that the properties declared and published in 2010 by Dr. Fayemi include the following: i. An undeveloped plot of land at Guzape District in Abuja valued at N30 million
“ii. An undeveloped plot of land at Lekki Phase 1 in Lagos valued at N25 million; iii. An undeveloped plot of land at Ambassadorial Enclave, Legon, Ghana valued at US$250,000. Howbeit, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has since diverted public funds belonging to the Ekiti State Government to develop the said empty landed properties. The three properties and two others acquired by Dr. Fayemi outside his legitimate salaries and allowances include the following: (The undeveloped plot of land at Guzape District in Abuja has been developed, and a house has been built on it. The house is located at Wada Nas Street, off Edwin Clark street, off El Rufai Street, Guzape District, Abuja, FCT. The house is worth N500 million.
“The undeveloped plot of land at Lekki Phase 1 in Lagos has been developed and a house has been built on it worth N700 million.
“The undeveloped plot of land at Ambassadorial Enclave, Legon, Ghana has been developed, and a house has been built on it worth $2 million. (iv) Governor Fayemi also acquired a property at No 55, Oduduwa Crescent.
“He transferred funds from the Ekiti State Government through Mr. Tayo Ayeni of Skymit Limited, an auto company to pay for the property. Mr. Ayeni was arrested by the EFCC over the illegal acquisition of the property. The house is currently worth N500 million. Dr. Fayemi also acquired a mansion in Jericho, GRA, Ibadan, Oyo state worth over 500 Million Naira.
“Dr. Fayemi bought a Mansion (St Peter White House) belonging to Late Aderanti Adeyinka besides Fresh FM Radio Station, Falegan Street, along Ado – Ilawe Road, Ado Ekiti State through front. The house he currently resides is worth not less than N300 million, and heavily renovated with Ekiti State Government money.”
On May 17, SaharaReporters reported Fayemi’s attempt to avoid going to the office of the anti-graft agency after he was summoned.
The former governor pleaded with the commission to allow him to present a book in honour of the former President, Muhammadu Buhari, on May 19, before honouring the invitation.
According to a letter dated May 12, the EFCC requested that the former governor should appear before the head of its zonal command office in Kwara State to answer questions about money laundering activities.
The EFCC requested that Fayemi should appear on May 18 in a letter issued by its zone commander, Micheal Nzekwe.
However, in a follow-up letter dated May 15, the ex-governor stated that he was one of the organisers and reviewers of one of the books published in Buhari’s honour.
“Our client is in receipt of your letter of invitation dated 12th May 2023 for an appointment on Thursday, 18th of May, 2023,” Fayemi’s lawyer had noted.
The letter reads, “Our client is engaged on the 18th day of May 2023 as he is preparing for a public presentation and launching of two new books in honour of President Muhammadu Buhari, titled: ‘State of Repair: How President Muhammad Buhari Tried to Change Nigeria For Good’ by Anthony Goldman and ‘The Legacy of Muhammadu Buhari’ by Abu Ibrahim slated for 19th May 2023 at the Banquet Hall, State House, Abuja by 10:00 a.m.
“Our client is one of the organisers of the programme and will review one of the books. Our client has also committed himself to other programs between May 19, 2023 and May 24, 2023 before he received your invitation. We regret to inform you that our client will not be able to honour your invitation on the 18th May 2023 against the backdrop of the foregoing information.”
How Fayemi Lobbied To Be Tinubu’s Minister To Evade Probe
SaharaReporters had exclusively reported how Fayemi had been lobbying for appointment in the cabinet of President Tinubu.
The former governor, according to multiple sources, was ‘hustling’ to be the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
However, the move was said to have been rejected by Tinubu despite appeals and pressure from some governors at the time including Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and Mohammed Badaru of Jigawa State.
“He (Fayemi) has asked Governor Wike, Governor Badaru and others to pressure Tinubu to give him a ministerial slot as foreign affairs minister but it was rejected by the incoming president.
“Tinubu snubbed him, saying he’s not the only person from Ekiti State,” a source had told SaharaReporters.
SaharaReporters had reported that the reason why Fayemi recently begged the EFCC to allow him to move his invitation date was that he heard that Tinubu would announce his cabinet before May 30, 2023, and he believed his inclusion would help him fend off the anti-graft agency.
“The reason Fayemi was begging EFCC for more time was because he heard Tinubu would announce his cabinet before the 30th of May,” a source close to Tinubu had told SaharaReporters.