The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has quizzed a former Chairman of Skye Bank Plc, Mr. Tunde Ayeni, for alleged multiple fraud, including a controversial N1 billion donation to the campaign fund of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011 by Aso Savings and Loans Plc.
The donation was said to be part of the ongoing probe of a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Sen. Bala Mohammed, and his son, Shamsudeen.
Some of the infractions include alleged mismanagement of Skye Bank and the purchase of the N7.5bn ASO Grove Estate at the Maitama area of Abuja by the bank through the ex-minister.
It was learnt that Ayeni was also invited in connection with N16.46 billion which is individually owed Skye Bank and another N104.80 billion jointly owed Skye Bank and four other banks.
Investigation revealed that the interrogation of Ayeni, who was accompanied to EFCC’s office by his counsel, began on Thursday.
A top source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The EFCC invited Ayeni for interrogation following many petitions against him.
“The businessman has questions to answer over some questionable debts of Skye Bank Plc when he was the chairman of the bank.
“Out of about12,744 on the list of debtors released by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Skye Bank is individually owed a total of N16.46 billion and jointly owed N104.80 billion with four other banks.
“As the chairman of ASO Savings & Loans Plc, Ayeni has some issues to clarify over the purchase of the N7.5 billion ASO Grove Estate in Maitama District of Abuja by the bank through a former minister of FCT.
“Also, during his tenure in Aso Savings, about N1 billion was made available to the campaign fund of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011.”
It was learnt that a June 2017 petition by one of the dropped nominees for ICPC board, Hajiya Maimuna Aliyu, provided new clues to the ongoing investigation of Ayeni.
The source said: “According to a petition we received from Maimuna Aliyu, Aso Savings took out N2 billion and gave Sen. Bala Mohammed as contributions to the Goodluck Campaign of 2011 and 2015 and the ex-Minister gave the bank 64 plots of land in Jahi District using phony/shell companies all registered.
“The petitioner alleged that the first tranche of N1billion went into Ayeni’s law firm’s account with Aso Savings while the second tranche went into Shamsudeen Bala’s company account called Trading Places with the same bank.”
When the status of the interrogation of Ayeni was sought, the source said: “He is still being interrogated over multiple cases of fraud.”
She also implicated Ayeni in land deal in Jahi area of Abuja during his tenure as the chairman of Aso Savings.
Maimuna Aliyu’s position statement added: “Part of the earlier investigations involved land allocations in Jahi area of Abuja when the bank was looking for ways to recover its N1bn donations to the campaign funds of former President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2011 elections through Mr. Tunde Ayeni and Hassan Usman, the Managing Director.
“The transaction was done through Tunde Olutoyi account. It was the reason Mr. Tunde Ayeni was detained by EFCC and still being investigated till date.
“The said lands were given to me to look for customers to buy them. I contracted them out to willing middlemen who would be able to dispose them off within a short period of time.
“The plots were slated for N19m each but those who sold them (not me) collected N23m per plot.
“ I have since discovered that my life is no longer safe in the hands of Mr. Tunde Ayeni and Hassan Usman, both of whom have sworn to get rid of me for exposing them.
“They will stop at nothing to drag me in and rubbish me, especially once they heard my name being nominated for the ICPC appointment. The facts of the matter speak for themselves.
“Having petitioned all the relevant agencies in the last two months, I am surprised that they have not swung into action.
“But the Police Force that has shown unwillingness to commence investigation on my petition, was quick to allegedly issue a report concerning their previous investigation on me without nothing to show for it, yet now curiously talking about indictment. How laughable.
“While thanking the Presidency for the opportunity of the nomination in the first place, I will pray that proper independent investigation be carried out by the Acting President to fathom out the real situation of things.”