OPERATIVES of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday searched the Ikoyi home of former Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.
The anti-crime agency said the former governor is under investigation just like some other “former governors since they no longer constitutionally enjoy immunity against prosecution.”
The agency said it carried out its assignment “with a high sense of responsibility” and denied that its men raided the former governor’s homes.
However, despite having a court warrant for the search in Ikoyi and Epe, it alleged that ‘irate youths’ prevented its operatives from searching the house in Epe, adding that its bus conveying the detectives on the assignment, was vandalized.
The former governor however, said his houses in Ikoyi and Epe were searched “without any incident.” He explained that he had not been contacted by any agency of government in respect of any investigation.
Spokesman of the former governor, Mr. Habib Aruna, in a statement, said: “This morning (yesterday), operatives of the EFCC visited the Epe country home and Parkview, Ikoyi home of Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, former governor of Lagos State, with warrants to conduct a search. These searches were carried out extensively, and at the end of the exercise, the operatives left without any incident.
“The former governor reiterates that the EFCC has, till date, not had any direct communication with him on any subject matter whatsoever and if or when it occurs, he is ready and willing to respond.”
Ambode, who reiterated his belief in the rule of law and due process, expressed gratitude for the opportunity to have served the state diligently and conscientiously.
The former governor urged his supporters and all Lagosians to remain calm and law-abiding as “there is no cause for alarm”.
Although the EFCC did not give reasons for investigating the ex-governor, it is believed that it is not unconnected with the probe into three accounts opened in the name of the Lagos State government into which N9.9billion was deposited over a period of time. The account was linked to a senior official of the government in the office of the chief of staff to the former governor. The anti-graft agency has got a temporary forfeiture of the amount in the accounts.
The ex-governor, who said the accounts being referred to were opened and operated by the state government, added that, under his administration, none of his personal accounts contained N9.9 billion, let alone being frozen by the commission.
The EFCC Head of Media and Publicity, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, said: “The attempt by operatives of the EFCC to execute a search warrant on the home of former Governor Ambode was, on Tuesday, August 20, 2019, resisted by hoodlums loyal to the governor.
“The thugs attacked the operatives and vandalized their vehicle.
“The commission had obtained a valid warrant to conduct search on Ambode’s homes in Park View, Ikoyi, and in Epe, as part of the ongoing investigation of alleged malfeasance.
“However, the commission’s operatives were attacked and prevented from executing the search warrant in Epe by irate youths who injured three officers and damaged EFCC official vehicle.
“The attack was totally unprovoked as the commission’s operatives were civil and did not molest anybody.
“The commission, therefore, frowns at the attempt to manipulate the video on the search to create the wrong impression that officers of the agency molested residents at the Epe home of the governor.
“It is also not true that the search was an attempt to plant foreign currencies in the home of the former governor.”
A video, which went viral, showed some Epe residents barricading the black-painted gate leading to the former governor’s home
Acting EFCC Chairman Ibrahim Magu who denied that that the commission “raided” Ambode’s home, said his men went after the ex-governor’s Chief of Staff (CoS), Mr.Olukunle Ojo.
Magu spoke with State House correspondents during the presidential retreat for ministers-designate, permanent secretaries and other top government officials at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. But the former CoS said he had no house in Epe.
Ojo, in a statement by his media aide, Cornelius Kayode, said “The former COS doesn’t have a house in Epe …. The House belongs to Bunmi Ariyo, Ambode’s PA”.