The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti State has alerted the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to alleged actions of Governor Ayodele Fayose to intimidate banks in the state to pay unusual fees into his personal account. Consequently, the party has asked the anti-graft agency to investigate the allegation against the governor of coercion and extortion of money from commercial banks operating in the state. A statement by the Publicity Secretary of the party, Taiwo Olatunbosun, alleged that Gov. Fayose had been on the necks of the banks, mainly Ecobank, Skye, Zenith, Wema, Access and GTB, asking them for one alleged illegal fund or the other. He alleged that Ecobank’s refusal to provide Fayose’s requests for funds in cash was responsible for last week’s directive to workers, MDAs, and other parastatals of government in the state to close their accounts with the bank.
The party’s image maker expressed regret over the governor’s conduct which threatens the jobs of Ekiti indigenes working in Ecobank and other banks if the banks closed shops in the state.
The governor on assumption of duty allegedly requested for six months moratorium from banks and after enjoying this, refused to pay Ecobank loan. “But after the expiration of the grace period, the governor refused to begin payment of Ecobank loan and when the bank approached the governor to pay, he came up with a condition that the bank should pay N1billion as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) fund before he could have any relationship on the payment of the loan,” he stressed. He claimed that the Federal Government had some months ago paid off the loan Ekiti State owed Ecobank, but the governor was still not satisfied, as he allegedly stuck to his guns to make the bank pay other illegal levies to him in cash. “Ecobank later approached the governor to offer N250 million CSR assistance to the state but the governor insisted it must be N300 million paid in cash to him. “Ecobank, a bank partially owned by foreign investors, insisted that it could not pay such a huge sum of money to an individual in cash, insisting that it was ready to pay into the government’s account to support Ekiti State’s development under CSR but the governor refused.
“The bank’s refusal to pay N300 million in cash led to the governor’s directive asking all MDAs and workers to take their accounts in Ecobank to other banks. He has also destroyed the culvert at the entrance of the premises of the bank over refusal to pay this illegal charge,” he alleged. Olatunbosun added that apart from forcing the banks to pay huge sums of money to contractors who are known to be the governor’s close allies for over-priced or over-valued projects, the governor recently asked the Banks Forum in Ekiti to pay N5 million each to provide light, security and roads rehabilitation.
“The banks that are barely surviving without much profit under his administration demanded for a downward review in the governor’s levy to enable them keep their work force, but the governor refused and harassed them into paying the money”, he added. Noting that Fayose’s action ran contrary to the best banking practices around the world, Olatunbosun said the governor’s action would cause job losses in the bank that had over 90 per cent of its workers as indigenes of Ekiti State. His words: “Over 90 per cent workers of Ecobank in the state, including the Group Managing Director, are from Ekiti State, yet the governor is determined to bring down the bank for refusing to pay CSR fund in cash to him.
“The governor is in the habit of insulting, harassing and blackmailing most of the top management officers of various banks who attempt not to pay CSR fund directly in cash to him (governor) or his self-appointed contractors who are mostly his personal friends.
This is the same method that the governor used to extort N600 million from Skye Bank on a fictitious project, over N400 million from Wema Bank paid to a contractor for less than 1kilometer road in Ikere-Ekiti while Access and other banks suffered the same fate from the governor. “The worst aspect of this illegal and fraudulent practice is that these donations by the banks running into billions of naira being collected in the name of CSR from banks are not captured or accounted for in the 2016 budget,” he added. Olatunbosun alleged that the governor was using his office to collect grants for the state but was diverting them to personal benefit through over-priced projects not provided for in the budget and were regularly awarded to his cronies.
“Governor Fayose is ruling as if he is not accountable to the people, as most of these projects are not known to Ekiti people and the donations by banks are not meant for the personal use of the governor but for Ekiti people. “He should therefore give Ekiti people the account of hundreds of millions of naira he has collected on behalf of Ekiti people from the banks in the name of levies, and corporate social responsibility and what he has used the money for. “The EFCC should look at the records of how the funds were transferred to the governor to examine whether the channel is proper or not,” he stressed.