Former minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, has faulted the Economic and Financial crimes Commission (EFCC) for detaining his wife in Ekiti State on Monday, October 17.
The EFCC was said to have instructed officials of a branch of Access bank in Ado-Ekiti to hold Fani-Kayode’s wife, Precious Chikwendu until its operatives arrive to whisk her away.
But the state Governor, Ayodele Fayose, whom Chikwendu was visiting, stormed the bank before the EFCC men arrived to rescue her.
According to reports, the account Fani-Kayode’s wife attempted to withdraw from had been flagged by the anti-graft agency.
The ex-minister condemned the action of the EFCC, saying it should leave his family out of whatever issue the agency has against him.
“If you have a problem with me face me and leave my family alone,” he said in a statement issued on Monday.
Recounting what transpired, he said: “My wife travelled to Ado Ekiti to see my friend and brother Governor Fayose and his family. They were on their way out of town when they went to Access Bank in Ado Ekiti to get some money.
“When they got there my eight-month-old son, Aragorn and wife Precious Chikwendu were illegally detained, brutalised and put under arrest on the orders of the EFCC at a bank in Ado-Ekiti, yesterday.
“She has never had any business with me, she has never been formally invited by the EFCC or asked any questions about her transactions and neither have they written to her on any issue even though they are always sending letters to my house and sending people there.
“If Buhari wants to deal with me why doesn’t he face me like a man instead of trying to harm and hurt my 8-month-old son and wife.”
He added that if not for Fayose “they would have been taken them away and subjected them to all manner of harm and indignities simply because she is married to me.”
According to him, the account in question “has 200,000 Naira in it and that has never had more than 500,000. She has operated it since 2005 and she stopped using it in 2013. The account has no connection with me and I did not know it existed till today.
“In an attempt to starve and harass me and my family all my accounts and wife’s accounts have been frozen. Now they are resorting to arresting peoples wives and children for no just cause.”
However, in a statement by the EFCC, the agency said it placed the account on ‘Post No Debit’ category after it discovered illicit cash flows into it.
It said its plan was to process Fani-Kayode’s wife at a police station and release her on bail since it was already late.
“She was intercepted by the bank while the Commission was notified but because it was late, the EFCC advised that the suspect be taken to the police station for processing and release on bail.
“They were arranging to take the suspect to the police station when Governor Ayo Fayose stormed the bank with thugs and his personal security and forcefully secured the release of the suspect, with claims that the EFCC had no power to detain anybody in his state,” the EFCC said.
Contrary to the ex-minister’s claim that the account had only N200,000 in it, the EFCC said the balance in the account was over N2 million.
“The said account, which had a balance of N 2,307,712.82 was flagged following investigation into the PDP Joint Trust fund when the Commission traced N1.1billion to the Zenith Bank account of Fani-Kayode.
“It was discovered that the account had two biometric identification numbers, one for Fani-Kayode and the other (with BVN 2205597283)for Sonia Chikwendu.
“The same BVN is linked to two other accounts in Diamond bank and 15 accounts in Guaranty Trust Bank”, the agency said.
According to the EFCC, when Fayose was trying to free Mrs. Fani-Kayode, he threatened to close down the branch of the bank, and also stating that the EFCC has no power to arrest anyone in his state.