Posted by By ADESINA AIYEKOTI on
The Personal Assistant to Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State, Mr Goke Olatunji, and the governor’s friend, Gbenga James...
The Personal Assistant to Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State, Mr Goke Olatunji, and the governor’s friend, Gbenga James, were Wednesday ordered to be remanded in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), till August 1, 2006.
The order made by a Federal High Court Judge, Justice Tijani Abubakar, followed the arraignment of both men before the court on a 15-count charge bordering on money laundering and illegal diversion of public funds.
However, charges could not be formally read to the accused persons, following an observation raised by the accused persons through their attorneys, that they had just been served with the charge sheets.
Also charged alongside the men were two companies, Biological Concepts Nigeria Limited and Avian Specialties Nigeria Limited.
The accused persons, including Biological Concepts Nigeria Limited, said to be the consultant to the Ekiti State Integrated Poultry project, were alleged, among others, to have at various times and places assisted to launder money amounting to over N115 million.
It was alleged in one of the charges that James and Biological Concepts sometime in 2004, expended the sum of N9.25 million from the amount meant for the execution of the poultry project contract on the construction of Governor Fayose’s house at Ibadan
Two of the accused persons were also alleged to have expended the sum of N2.1 million from the amount meant for the execution of the contract to purchase a Mercedez Benz for the mother of Governor Fayose, knowing fully well that the money represent the proceeds from a crime.
Other allegations raised by the Federal Government were that James and Biological Concepts transferred the sum of N7 million from the amount meant for the execution of the contract and gave it to Governor Fayose and Olatunji.
Reacting to the arrest of the Personal Assistant to the Ekiti State Governor, however, the Commissioner for Information Sports and Social Development, Gboyega Oguntuwashe, noted that the target of the adversaries was actually the Governor, Fayose.
Oguntuwase said the attack were in spite of the notable achievements of the government as attested to by President Olusegun Obasanjo who said the governor was performing well.
He added that Obasanjo’s statement was reinforced by international bodies, such as the World Bank, DFID, USAID and crowned by the City People magazine which all rated Fayose as the Governor of the Year 2006.
The governmnt’s spokesman who said there might be nothing wrong with investigating any particular case, however, wondered at the timing of the arrest, which he said could be linked to the forthcoming 2007 election.
He added that the unfolding events suggested persecution informed by other things outside patriotism, nationalism and love for democratic process, stressing that despite this display of hatred and blackmail, Fayose could not be stopped from winning a second term in office.
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