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‘EFCC delaying Ben Ayade petition’ – Anti-corruption group reports to Tinubu

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The Network Against Corruption and Trafficking Initiative, NACAT, has called the attention of President Bola Tinubu to the delay in the review of the corruption petition and the investigation of the former Governor of Cross River State, Prof. Ben Ayade.

NACAT, while hailing Tinubu for giving the anti-graft agencies a free hand and allowing them to revive the fight against corruption and nepotism in the country, described as laudable the decision of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to revisit the corruption cases of former governors.

The affected governors, as listed by the EFCC, include two former Ekiti State governors, Kayode Fayemi and Ayo Fayose; former Zamfara State governor, Bello Matawalle; two former Enugu State governors, Chimaroke Nnamani and Sullivan Chime; former Nasarawa State governor, Abdullahi Adamu; and former Kano State governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso.

Others are former Rivers State governor Peter Odili; former Abia State governor Theodore Orji; former Gombe State governor Danjuma Goje; former Sokoto State governor Aliyu Wamako; former Bayelsa State governor Timipre Sylva; and former Jigawa State governor Sule Lamido.

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In the face of this revisitation, there is the case of the immediate past governor of Anambra State, Governor Willie Obiano.

“We are, however, concerned by the fact that, despite the plethora of facts and figures, audit reports, and account statements which indict the former Governor of Cross River State, Prof. Ben Ayade, as submitted to the headquarters of the EFCC, nothing tangible is seen to have happened,” NACAT said during a press briefing addressed by Tega Oghenedoro, its Executive Director, Investigation, and Stanley Ugagbe, Operations Manager.

“In our submission to the EFCC, we have asked salient questions which we believe are investigation-worthy: Who received a pay-off of N2,653,318,536.38 on June 12, 2015, from CRSG Recurrent Exp (FAAC) Account No. 2017445579 in First Bank?

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“Who also received a pay-off of N1,400,381,417.48 from the same account on June 8, 2015? Who received the N200 million disbursed from Account CRSG CONSOLIDATED ACCOUNT No. 2030459287 with First Bank Plc on 8/16/2017? And many more questions are yet to be answered. Prof. Ben Ayade was more interested in displaying his thespian attributes than in focusing on the real business of governance.

“The government-owned factories which Ayade established, including the chicken processing factory known as Calachika, the Cala Noodles factory, the Cross River Packaging factory, and the Cross River Feedmill Ltd., all located at the Ayade Industrial Park in Calabar, which gulped billions of Cross River taxpayers money, are now moribund.

“The EFCC owes the good people of Cross River State closure for the accountability nightmare that befell them for eight horrible years of the worst kind of leadership.

“In the course of our private and detailed investigation, we highlighted the grey areas for the EFCC to focus on. Indeed, the EFCC investigators commended us for our diligent work, which has made their work easier. We therefore wonder why Ayade has not been invited, investigated, and prosecuted.

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“We call on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to consolidate on his renewed thrust for fiscal probity and governance accountability by compelling the EFCC to beam its searchlight on the horrendous financial activities perpetuated by the former Governor of Cross River State, Prof. Ben Ayade.”

Reacting to the call to probe the former governor, Ayade’s Chief Press Secretary, Christian Ita, told newsmen via a test message: “It’s a political hatchet job that will fall. The sponsor is in plain view.”

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