Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have commenced a search of the Epe residence of former Lagos State governor, Akinwunmi Ambode.
Ambode was governor between 2015 and 2019, handing over to Babajide Sanwo-Olu in May after a failed bid for a second term and a very public falling out with the leadership of his All Progressives Congress (APC).
EFCC agents raided his residence in the Epe area of Lagos early on Tuesday, August 20, 2019 after receiving a petition against him.
The former governor’s residence in Parkview, Ikoyi was also searched by EFCC operatives who arrived at both locations with warrants on Tuesday.
In a statement by Ambode’s spokesperson, Habib Aruna, he said the inspections were conducted without incident even though the anti-graft agency has failed to initiate any direct communication with Ambode on any subject matter.
The former governor said he’ll cooperate with the agency and affirmed his belief in the rule of law and due process.
“The former governor wishes to assure his supporters and the generality of Lagosians to continue to remain calm and law-abiding as there is no cause for alarm,” Aruna said.
In a statement released by EFCC spokesperson, Tony Orilade, he said the anti-graft agency did not raid Ambode’s residence, but was merely conducting investigation in line with its mandate and the rule of law.
“It is instructive that his administration, like other former governors is under investigation, since they no longer constitutionally enjoy immunity against prosecution,” he said.
Despite Aruna’s claim that the searches were conducted without incident, videos have emerged online showing a clash between EFCC operatives and Epe residents who harassed them in front of Ambode’s residence.
It’s unclear if this happened before or after the residence had been searched, but the operatives shot their firearms into the air as they were forced to leave the scene to avoid the mob.
Why EFCC is investigating Ambode
The raids comes just two weeks after media reports linked Ambode to the sum of N9.9 billion frozen in three bank accounts by a federal court.
Justice Chuka Obiozor of the Federal High Court in Lagos ordered the freezing of the accounts belonging to the Lagos State government on Tuesday, August 6, 2019.
The EFCC had filed an ex-parte application before the court to freeze the accounts pending the conclusion of investigation and possible prosecution of Adewale Adesanya, the Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Chief of Staff to Ambode.
In an affidavit deposed to by Kungmi Daniel, an EFCC operative, the N9.9 billion in question is domiciled in three banks: First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Access Bank and Zenith Bank.
The EFCC said there was a huge inflow of a total of N9,927,714,443.29 from the state accounts into the FCMB account opened on September 17, 2018.
Adesanya and other signatories to the FCMB account are accused of making fraudulent transfers from the accounts of the Lagos State Government and dissipating the funds.
In response to media reports that linked Ambode to the frozen accounts, Aruna said the frozen accounts were used for the administrative operations of the Lagos government and never for personal use.
He noted that the accounts have been operated by previous and present administrations to ensure smooth operations of government activities.
“The former governor was not and will never be involved in any unauthorized use of government property and resources,” the statement read.
Aruna said Ambode is entitled to some deserved rest without the unwarranted attacks on his well-earned reputation as a former governor.
credit Pulse magazine