FORMER Ekiti State governor, Kayode Fayemi, has refuted reports that he is being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over an alleged N4 billion fraud.
Fayemi, The ICIR had reported, was questioned at the zonal command office of the EFCC in Kwara State, on Thursday, June 1.
His questioning followed an earlier invitation extended to him by the anti-graft agency last month to address queries related to money laundering activities against him. It was reported that the invitation was over allegations of money laundering amounting to N4 billion.
But due to his prior commitments during the transition period, Fayemi reportedly requested a more suitable date for his appearance while assuring of his willingness to cooperate with the Commission.
However, Fayemi, in a statement issued by his spokesperson, Ahmad Sajoh, on Friday, June 2, said the alleged misappropriation of N4 billion was not raised during his discussions with EFCC officials on Thursday.
He claimed that the visit was solely in response to what he described as a frivolous petition from a group aiming to tarnish his reputation.
According to him, he was allowed to leave a few hours after he arrived and answered questions at the Commission’s office.
“We wish to note, too, that contrary to the news that made the rounds about a purported N4b fraud case against Dr Fayemi, no such allegation was raised in his conversation with the EFCC,” the statement said.
“All he did was respond to a frivolous petition from a faceless group, the so-called Ekiti Patriotic Coalition, which we strongly believed is a front for some anti-Fayemi politicians, who are trying to soil the former governor’s good name and image.
“As governor, he consistently demonstrated a profound commitment to the welfare of the citizens, driving notable advancements in infrastructure development and attracting valuable investment opportunities to the state.”
The statement said Fayemi was committed to upholding the highest standards of integrity and expressed confidence that the truth would prevail in due course.
Fayemi, a former Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), is not the only former governor being investigated by the EFCC.
The EFCC had also stated it was investigating former Zamfara State governor, Bello Matawalle over corruption allegations, including the award of phantom contracts and diversion of over N70 billion.
The anti-graft agency made the disclosure after Matawalle accused its chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, of demanding $2 million bribe from him.
“The Commission would like to put the nation on notice to expect more of the kind of wild allegations made by Matawalle as those at the receiving end of EFCC’s investigations fight viciously back.
“But the real issue with Matawalle is that he is being investigated by the EFCC over allegations of monumental corruption, award of phantom contracts and diversion of over N70 billion,” EFCC Director of Communication Osita Nwajah said while addressing journalists on May 18.
Accusing the governor of “monumental” corruption, the EFCC stated that it tracked down more than 100 companies that received payments from the claimed funds while there was no evidence of service to the state.
The EFCC said that as part of the extensive investigation of contracts awarded by the Matawalle administration, especially for phantom projects in the local government areas, it recovered N300 million from a company, Fezel Nigeria Limited.
It added that funds were traced to the Zamfara Investment Company.
Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, is also being probed over alleged corruption, including the possession of 14 properties in Nigeria and abroad, as well as N400 million.
The anti-graft agency stated that these properties, including a hotel apartment in Dubai, are suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities.
Other former and serving governors being probed for various offences, in line with mass investigations initiated by the EFCC, include Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Abubakar Bagudu (Kebbi), Abubakar Bello (Niger), Samuel Ortom (Benue) Benedict Ayade (Crosss River), Dave Umahi (Ebonyi), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta), Ahmadu Fintiri (Adamawa), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna), Bala Mohammed (Bauchi) Aminu Masari (Katsina) and Simon Lalong (Plateau).