The Ayodele Fayose government in Ekiti state is under investigation for alleged diversion of over N680 million meant for salaries and pension of civil servants.
The money was traced by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to a fixed account which the commission claims yields N6 million monthly.
This was why the state’s commissioner of finance Toyin Ojo and the accountant general Yemisi Owolabi were arrested by the commission, though they were released on Wednesday.
They both agreed to assist the anti-graft agency with relevant documents before they were granted administrative bail and ordered to report back in two weeks.
Following their arrest and detention, Governor Fayose criticised the EFCC , describing it as a ‘senseless’ organization, in dire need of restructuring.
He vowed to overhaul and restructure the anti-graft agency when he becomes president in 2019.
A top source in the commission disclosed that during the course of investigation of alleged misapplication of the bailout funds by Fayose’s administration, many things were exposed.
One of such is the N1.7 billion contract awarded to a Lebanese Company which moved part of the money to allegedly purchase properties for the governor.
The source said: “Investigators stumbled on evidence of diversion of funds meant for payment of state and local government employees in Ekiti state including pensioners.
“Specifically, over N600 million was diverted on 25 January 2016. The funds comprising N200 million from the Ekiti state local government salary account, N300 million from the Ekiti state pension account and N180 million from the Ekiti state FAAC account were first credited into the Consolidated Revenue Account in Zenith Bank on 25 January 2016 and later transferred the same day into an account called 2015 MDG-CGS state project account domiciled in Zenith Bank.
“The analysis of the bank statement revealed that the money was later placed in a fixed deposit where it was yielding monthly interest of about N6million, at a time pensioners and workers in Ekiti state are owed months of unpaid entitlements.”
According to the source, EFCC investigators are going over documents to uncover the beneficiaries of the monthly interest on the fixed deposit. Apart from the bailout funds, an alleged diversion of over N59.6 million meant for projects under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Ekiti state by one Abiodun Agbele, an associate of the state governor, Ayodele Fayose, was also discovered by the EFCC.
The MDGs’ funds were reportedly transferred from an account in the First Bank of Nigeria (titled MDGs-CGS Local Govt) to BYKD Consult Limited which is purportedly owned by Agbele.
Documents indicated that the funds were transferred in four tranches as follows: February 18, 2015(N18, 159, 050; N15, 319,850; N11, 218, 500; and March 30, 2015—N15, 704, 325. Agbele who is presently on trial is said to have diverted these funds for the payment of choice vehicles from Affordable Motors.
He was also said to have been used as a front to launder N1.299 billion for Fayose through his company called De-Privateer.
Recall that in 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari agreed to bailout Nigerian states which were unable to pay the salaries of public workers.
He approved a N713.7 billion ($3.5 billion) relief fund to states.
Of the total sum, N413.7 billion ($2.1 billion) was a special intervention fund, made available to pay outstanding wage commitments while the remaining N300 billion ($1.4 billion) was a soft loan to states.