Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) has reacted to the defence by the Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayo Fayose, that his 2014 governorship election was sponsored by Zenith Bank Plc describing it as shallow and a heinous crime for which he is liable to be prosecuted.
Mr. Falana in a press statement on Friday said the alleged funding of Fayose’s election contravenes the Electoral Act and the Money Laundering Act.
Below is the full text of the statement:
Fayose’s shallow defence
Yesterday, the Ekiti state governor, Mr. Ayo Fayose discovered that he could not invoke the immunity conferred on him by section 308 of the Constitution to stop the EFCC from investigating the criminal diversion of N1.2 billion which has been traced to his account. In denying the serious allegation made by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to the effect that the stolen fund emanated from the Office of the National Security Adviser Mr. Fayose has said that it was contributed to his campaign fund by Zenith Bank Plc and some unnamed friends. In his characteristic loquacious manner the governor has threatened to name other people who also contributed to his political campaign.
In a sharp denial of Mr. Fayose’s allegation, the management of Zenith Bank Pls disclosed that when the money was paid into the account it was reported to the relevant financial regulatory authorities in line with the provisions of the Laundering Act 2011 (as amended). In a desperate move to ward off the allegations, the embattled governor appears to have resolved not to go down alone. To divert attention from the heinous crime of the diversion of public fund Mr. Fayose is likely to carry out his threat of implicating some people who allegedly fund his governorship election.
However, assuming without conceding that the bulk of the fund spent on his campaign was donated by Zenith Bank Plc the governor has unwittingly justified the investigation and freezing of his account by the EFCC. He has also confirmed that the humongous sum of money was transported from Abuja to Akure in contravention of the Money Laundering Act. By his utterances, Mr. Fayose is simply saying that the management of Zenith bank stole depositors’ money and laundered it to fund his political campaign contrary to section 90 of the Electoral Act, 2010 as amended. On the basis of his own confessional statement, Governor Fayose and the management of the bank are liable to be prosecuted for electoral fraud, money laundering and criminal diversion of depositors’ fund to the tune of N1.2 billion. Therefore, the decision of the EFCC to freeze Mr. Fayose’s account is perfectly in order.