The Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has again written to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), affirming his readiness to make himself available at the commission’s Abuja office on October 16, 2018 at 1p.m.
He, however, said the commission has already demonstrated “hate, prejudice, persecution and partiality” in the treatment of the letter he earlier wrote it on the same subject matter.
Mr Fayose’s second letter comes few days after the commission wrote the Nigerian Customs requesting that the outgoing governor be placed on watch list to forestall his escape from prosecution after the expiration of his tenure on October 15.
According to Mr Fayose, if the EFCC was so much in a hurry that its investigation cannot wait till October 16, which is the first day after the expiration of his tenure, without prejudice to Section 308 of the Constitution, he will be willing to answer questions from its team of investigators at his office in Ado Ekiti on September 20 as indicated in the EFCC’s letter dated September 13.
The governor said the letter of the EFCC to the Customs and other agencies, directing them to place him on watch-list and to 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.
“In 2007, precisely on the 19th day of December, I willingly presented myself for EFCC investigation at your Lagos office,” Mr Fayose recalled.
“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.”
Mr Fayose in his second letter dated September 14, said he would not be available for the EFCC probe before the expiration of his tenure in consonance with Section 308 of the Constitution which provides him immunity.
“As a responsible citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who currently enjoys immunity under Section 308 of the 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,” the letter read.
“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 yours of 14th September 2018, my attention was drawn to your widely publicized letter of 12th September 2018 to the Comptroller General, Nigeria Customs Service and similar agencies, directing them to 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 on-line 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 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 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 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 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 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 1pm as earlier stated.”
The commission is investigating Mr Fayose over alleged links with the $2.1billion arms funds diverted for the use of elections under the supervision of the Office of the National Security Adviser.
Although some associates of the governor had been arrested and questioned, the governor’s immunity from prosecution prevented the EFCC from arresting the ardent critic of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
The EFCC had a temporary success of freezing the bank accounts of the governor allegedly linked with the funds, but the courts ruled that the commission has no such powers, given the provisions of section 308 of the 1999 Constitution.