The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday said Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose, made a part-payment of N75 million to a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Mike Ozekhome, from an alleged N1.2billion the governor allegedly received from the Office of National Security Adviser (ONSA).
The commission said it froze Ozekhome’s account because the money was suspected to be proceed of crime.
Ozekhome prayed Justice Abdullazeez Anka to unfreeze his firm’s account which the court froze at EFCC’s instance on February 7.
Opposing the application, EFCC’s lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, argued that Ozekhome ought to have reasonably known that the money he received as part-payment for legal fees was proceed of “fraudulent activities.”
He said: “EFCC received an intelligence showing that one Mr. Ayodele Fayose received N1, 219,490,000 from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) through the Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, who conveyed the money through an aircraft to Akure airport.
“It investigated the intelligence and discovered that the sum of N137million was paid into account numbered 1003126654 operated by Fayose on June 26, 2014.
“On August 22 and 27, 2014, the sums of N50million and N118million were also credited to the account.”
Oyedepo said having discovered that the funds were “proceeds of crime,” EFCC approached Justice Mohammed Idris of the court’s Lagos division for an order freezing the account pending conclusion of investigation.
The lawyer said the order by Justice Idris was not appealed against by either Fayose or Zenith Bank Plc where the money was lodged.
“The N75million is from the proceed of the alleged crime fraudulently taken from the ONSA and kept in Fayose’s account from where it was transferred to Ozekhome,” he said.
Oyedepo said EFCC is empowered to freeze any money suspected to be proceed of crime even if it is not in possession of the person committing the unlawful act.