– Governor Ayodele Fayose has spoken out again regarding Aisha Buhari’s role in a bribery scandal
– The Ekiti state governor distributed a link to US Justice department showing evidence of funds transfered by Aisha Buhari
– Fayose claims that Buhari is as corrupt as those he is witch-hunting
Governor Ayodele Fayose relived the controversy on Monday, June 20, stressing the role played by Buhari’s wife, in the messy bribery scandal involving Williams Jefferson, a US Congressman.
Governor Fayose added that President Buhari is corrupt. The Ekiti state governor distributed a link to the US Department of Justice’s website holding court documents where Aisha Buhari was alleged to have transferred suspicious funds to a convicted former American congressman, Williams Jefferson.
In a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Idowu Adelusi, Fayose said President Buhari was far from being a clean man. “Even the President cannot claim to be an angel,” the governor said, in reaction to the freezing of his Zenith Bank account by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
“The estate he built in Abuja is known to us. His wife was indicted over the Halliburton Scandal (sic). When that American, Jefferson, was being sentenced, the President’s wife was mentioned as having wired $170,000 to Jefferson. Her name was on page 25 of the sentencing of Jefferson. We can serialize the judgment for people to see and read.”
The governor’s Special Assistant on New Media, Lere Olayinka, later circulated links to and copies of the court document detailing Mrs Buhari’s mention in the scandal. The documents showed that in some of the exhibits tendered in convicting Mr. Jefferson of bribery, Mrs. Buhari was mentioned as transferring $170,000 to the American politician using a firm as proxy.
“Government Exhibits 36-87 (6/26/02 $170,000 wire transfer from account in Nigeria in the name of Aisha Buhari to an account in the name of The ANJ Group, LLC, identifying “William Jefferson” as Beneficiary),” the US Government Sentencing Memorandum said on page 22.
Presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, declined comments, saying he would need to check the documents himself before issuing an official statement. Fayose’s comment sparked a recollection of how Mr Jefferson, between 2000 and 2005, used his position as member of the U.S. House of Representatives to offer illegal services to private companies for cash rewards.
Jefferson and his family, according to US authorities, received about $367,500 through through his firm, ANJ Group, for services rendered to iGate, an American broadband technology provider. An indigenous firm, Netlink Digital Television, had signed a joint venture with iGate to set up digital satellite TV and broadband Internet services in the country.
NDTV was owned by Oyewole Fasawe, a PDP chieftain at the time. Mr. Jefferson was contracted to help promote iGate and NDTV partnership in Nigeria. Following a lengthy trial, Mr. Jefferson was convicted in 2009 and sentenced to 13 years in prison. Although Mr. Fasawe was arrested in 2005 by the EFCC, he was never convicted. Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar were also said to be a person of interest in the allegations.
A final report released by the EFCC on June 22, 2006 about the bribery scandal also contained Mrs. Buhari’s Citizens Bank account statements and how she transferred funds to Mr. Jefferson. A 2007 New York Times’ article detailed how Mrs. Buhari told an acquaintance in Washington that she was a daughter of a former Nigerian head of state and a friend of Mr. Jefferson.
“As the pair struck up a conversation and subsequently became friends, Mr. Assiba, then a security guard, said she told him that her father was the former military ruler of Nigeria, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, and that her American friends included politicians like Mr. Jefferson of Louisiana.”
Meanwhile, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) has frozen the personal account of Governor Ayodele Fayose. A source was also said to have disclosed that the governor’s account in Zenith Bank in Ekiti as well as those of some of his associates were also frozen by the anti-graft agency.
After visiting the bank at Onigari, GRA area of the state capital, Fayose described the action as illegal and while citing section 308 of the 1999 constitution, the governor stated that the federal government should fight corruption within the ambit of the law, since he enjoys immunity as a sitting governor.
He said: “I got mind of the fact that the EFCC had placed restriction order on my personal account and that of my associates. I came here today and I have been able to see it. This action shows that this government has no respect for the constitution because I enjoy immunity under Section 308. “I support government fighting corruption, but it has to be within the ambit of the law. You can investigate me, it is their right, but they have to wait till 2018, because I will be done by then. They should not be in a hurry because I will personally come to them for investigation.”
In reaction to Fayose’s comments, the EFCC has said that immunity does not stop the commission from investigating suspicious account belonging to any governor. The anti-graft agency was reacting to the claim that Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti state cannot be investigated because of immunity currently being enjoyed by him.
Wilson Uwujaren, the spokesman for the EFCC, said the immunity being enjoyed by any governor does not prevent the commission from investigating suspicious movements of money into their accounts. Fayose has lamented the undue interference in the internal affairs of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by the government and security agents.