The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has raided the residence of a former Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode, in connection with the ongoing probe of alleged N9.9billion fraud.
The EFCC team also stormed the home of Mr. Adewale Adesanya, a former Chief of Staff to the ex-governor. Both houses were searched in Epe.
The agency had earlier secured a court order to freeze three bank accounts said to belong to the Lagos State Government over an alleged fraud of N9.9bn.
Other sources said the cash was linked to Ambode.
The Acting Head of Media and Publicity of EFCC, Mr. Tony Orilade, said, “Our men have been drafted to the residences of Ambode and his former Chief of Staff in Epe in respect of an investigation. They are there as I speak with you.”
However, moments after the news broke, the EFCC issued an official statement, denying the search. It said the former governor is under investigation. The commission said it does not conduct its investigations on the “pages of newspapers”.
Justice Chuka Obiozor of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, had ordered the freezing of the sum of N9.9bn belonging to the Lagos State Government.
The EFCC said: “The funds are domiciled variously in First City Monument Bank account number 5617984012; Access Bank account number 0060949275; and Zenith Bank account number 1011691254, respectively.
“Justice Chuka Obiozor gave the order, following an ex parte application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
“The EFCC had prayed the court to freeze the accounts pending the conclusion of investigations and possible prosecution of Adewale Adesanya, the Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Chief of Staff to former Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.”
“The Judge adjourned further proceedings to September 9, 2019.”
However, Ambode has denied involvement in the N9.9bn scam, adding that none of his accounts contained N9.9bn let alone being frozen by the EFCC.
An earlier statement by his Media Adviser, Habib Aruna, quoted Ambode as saying he did not intend to join issues with the anti-corruption agency as there had not been any communication between him and the commission on the matter.
According to the former governor, the accounts frozen by the Federal High Court belong to the Lagos State Government and not him or any individual.
“Those accounts were opened in the course of normal operations by the Lagos State Government for its administrative purposes and not for the former governor’s personal transactions as was being wrongly insinuated and have been operated to ensure smooth operations of government activities by previous and present administrations. The former governor was not and will never be involved in any unauthorized use of government property and resources.
“We strongly believe that after four demanding years as Chief Executive of Lagos State, Mr. Ambode is entitled to some deserved rest with his family and loved ones without the unwarranted attacks on his well-earned reputation,” the statement read in part.
EFCC’s Tuesday statement reads in part: “We need to state for the records that the EFCC did not raid Ambode’s house. It is instructive that his administration, like other former governors, is under investigation, since they no longer constitutionally enjoy immunity against prosecution.
“We wish to inform the social media to be circumspect in the reportage of any news with regards to investigation activities of the Commission.
“As a tradition, the Commission does not carry out investigation on the pages of the newspapers or through the media. Our operations are always covert until at a time when we file charges in court.
“Therefore, the attempt to cast the Commission in a bad light is unacceptable as the EFCC will never engage in illegal act. We remain committed to the war against corruption.”