The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission obtained a remand order from a Federal Capital Territory High Court to keep former Governor of Ekiti State Ayodele Fayose for two weeks.
The remand order, it was learnt, is subject to renewal which implies that Fayose could spend longer than two weeks in custody.
However, the lawyer to Fayose, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), told The PUNCH on the telephone that if the EFCC failed to release the former governor on Thursday (today), the commission would be sued for breaching Fayose’s fundamental human rights.
A reliable source said, “We have obtained a court order to hold Fayose for at least two weeks pending investigation. He could be released earlier or later than two weeks depending on the outcome of investigation.”
Fayose is under probe for allegedly receiving N1.3bn from the Office of the National Security Adviser through a former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, during the build-up to the 2014 governorship election in Ekiti State.
However, sources within the commission revealed that Fayose was also under probe for allegedly receiving kickbacks from government contractors through his aide, Abiodun Agbele, who is currently standing trial for fraud.
The EFCC source said, “We have many cases against Fayose being handled by three different teams. We cannot just arraign him immediately. We want to do a thorough job before taking him to court.”
Fayose’s lawyet, Ozekhome said the EFCC began investigating Fayose over two years ago and that he wondered why the agency would decide to hold him for over 24 hours.
He said the commission could not force Fayose to write any statement as he reserved the right to remain silent.
The senior advocate said any move to obtain a remand order would amount to illegality because the Supreme Court had made that clear.
The lawyer said since Fayose’s accounts had been frozen and his properties seized by the commission, there was nothing for the ex-governor to tell the EFCC as the matter was already in court.
Ozekhome added, “His lawyers will consider approaching the court for the enforcement of his fundamental human rights if he is not released on Thursday. Section 35 and 36 of the constitution are clear on this.
“He is not a flight risk. He willingly submitted himself to the EFCC even earlier than the time he was supposed to come. What the EFCC is doing is nothing but media trial.
“From the way they have been chasing Fayose in the last three years, one would have expected that the EFCC would have completed its investigations and would arrest him immediately his tenure expires and charge him the next day but that is not the case.
They want him to write a statement by force and then use the statement against him instead of using their own evidence.” (Punch)