Since the revelations by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) about the kick-back share of arm’s money traced Governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose’s Zenith Bank account recently, one of the estate agents who sold seven houses acquired by the controversial governor in Lagos has promised to cooperate with the EFCC.
The seven houses were bought by Fayose in a space of six months cost at about N1.35 billion.
They are all located within the highbrow Victoria Island area of Lagos State, with one of them said to be in the exclusive and highly expensive Banana Island.
Available information on Wednesday had it that one of the estate agencies involved in the transaction, Still Earth, has vowed to cooperate with the EFCC, which is investigating Fayose over N4.7 billion he allegedly collected from the Office of the National Security Adviser under retired Colonel Sambo Dasuki through a former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro.
Already, Fayose’s N1.299 billion bank account with Zenith Bank Plc has been frozen by a court order obtained by the EFCC.
A top official of Still Earth Limited and Signachorr Nigeria Limited, which sold one of the properties to Fayose, said contrary to the alarm being raised, the Governor actually bought a property in Lagos through it at the cost of N550 million.
It was, however, gathered that Fayose only paid an initial deposit of N400 million for the property through his close ally who is at present in the custody of the EFCC, Abiodun Agbele, popularly known as Abbey, promising to pay the balance at a later date.
However, rather than paying the balance of N150 million through the same person that made the deposit or by himself, it was paid through a company, Samchese Nigeria Limited.
Samchese Nigeria Limited, however, has been discovered to be a contractor to the Ekiti State Government, fuelling speculation that the N150 million paid by the company for the completion of the payment for the N550 million house was a kick-back due to the Governor.
The official of Still Earth Limited and Signachorr Nigeria Limited, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the company will not hide anything from the EFCC since it was a genuine transaction and they did not know the money Fayose paid was from a kick-back or the Office of the NSA.
The official said: “I want to tell you that we are a reputable company and have nothing to hide.
“We engaged in genuine transaction with Mr. Fayose and all the documents are there.
“We will not hide anything from the EFCC or any government agency that may be interested in the matter because our hands are clean.
“Nobody is trying to implicate the Governor.
“He should own up now because we are not ready to play any dirty game with him.”
Meanwhile, source at the EFCC told our reporter that Agbele, have made statements indicting Fayose over several transactions, including the purchase of the seven houses and the movement of cash before, during and after the Ekiti State governorship election.
It was learnt that three officials of the company have been invited for questioning by the EFCC on Friday (tomorrow).
The EFCC had in a case instituted against it by Fayose at the Federal High Court in Ado Ekiti presented an affidavit in which it indicted the governor.
The affidavit sought to justify the freezing of Faye’s account with Zenith Bank Plc.
The affidavit said in part: “That apart from fraudulently retaining the sum of N1,219,490,000.00 being part of the N4,745,000,000.00 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 kick back from various contractors with the Ekiti State Government, such as Samchese Nigeria Ltd, Tender Branch Concept Nig. Ltd, Hoff Concept Ltd, Calibre Consulting Ltd.
“That the Applicant received these kick-backs and gratification through Still Earth Ltd and Signachorr Nigeria Ltd.
“That, in turn, the Applicant (Fayose) instructed the Still Earth Ltd and Signachoor Nigeria Ltd to use the funds to acquire properties for him.
“That in complying with the Applicant’s instruction, Still Earth Ltd and Signachoor Nigeria Ltd, acquired properties on behalf of the Applicant in the name of a company known as J.J. Technical Services Ltd belonging to the applicant and his wife. Attached and marked Exhibit EFCC 08 are copies of the deeds of assignment for the said properties.”
An elder statesman from Ekiti State, who spoke with newsmen on condition of anonymity, described Fayose as a tragedy that befell the State.
He said: “Fayose is the tragedy that happened when Ekiti people chose ‘rice’ over an educational colossus like (former Governor Kayode) Fayemi.
“What a disaster.
“I heartily sympathise with the people of Ekiti for having a miscreant like Fayose governing the state of many intellects.
“It is really sad.
“When I stumbled on Fayose’s newspaper advert about (President Muhammadu) Buhari, I couldn’t help but cry for the people of Ekiti for having him as their leader.”
The elder statesman said most of the companies and names Fayose has been indicting since the investigation into the funding of his governorship campaign commenced “are business owners who have worked tirelessly to build a brand for themselves, which should not be tarnished overnight by a failing and failed institution and entity”.
The elder statesman said Fayose had even before now acted unwisely to a higher authority in the person of Buhari and then sought to drag the President’s wife, Hajia Aisha Buhari, in the mud in order to cover his track.