Unsavory details have continue to unfold following the raid by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on the Epe and Ikoyi, Lagos homes of former Laģos Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Tuesday morning.
The anti-graft agency’s operatives had stormed the Epe country home of Ambode but were prevented from gaining entry by a horde of youth.
In a statement by his media aide, Habib Aruna, the former governor, who is out of the country, said that the EFCC operatives’ visit to his houses was without any prior notice.
According to the statement, “These searches were carried out extensively and 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.”
Reacting, Tony Orilade, spokesman of the EFCC, said the search on the house was not a raid, but part of an ongoing investigation which is “in line with (the EFCC’s) mandate and the rule of law.”
Orilade further said, “We need to state for the records that the EFCC did not raid Ambode’s house. It is instructive that his administration, like other former governors, is under investigation since they no longer constitutionally enjoy immunity against prosecution.”
As a tradition, the commission, Orilade stated, does not carry out an investigation on the pages of the newspapers or through the media; “Our operations are always covert until at a time when we file charges in court. Therefore, the attempt to cast the commission in a bad light is unacceptable as the EFCC will never engage in an illegal act. We remain committed to the war against corruption.”
However, EFCC sources have claimed that Ambode has come under the scrutiny of the anti-graft agency for alleged financial malfeasances during his tenure as governor of Lagos State between 2015 and 2019.
Apart from the multi-billion dollar Visionscape deal which many described as greatest injustice to the Lagos economy, there are allegations that the former governor awarded some contracts that did not go through due process thus the investigation by the anti-graft agency.
EFCC sources alleged that a year into Ambode’s administration, a particular company, Craneburg Construction, established in 2016, and purportedly owned by Ambode’s bosom friend, Herbert Wigwe, the GMD/CEO, Access Bank Plc, without previous construction experience, reportedly awarded a $300million deal for road projects around select areas of the state particularly the former Governor’s Epe constituency.
A source within the EFCC said Ambode, who has decided to stay put in London since his exit as Lagos governor in May, is being investigated over this contract deal.
While the investigation on this continues, the source said the former governor is also being investigated for his dealings with the bank over his four-year administration.