Is Akinwunmi Ambode, the immediate past Governor of Lagos state a thief of public funds? Economic and Financial Crimes Commission may be thinking that he is. The commission drag associates of the former governor who also served at one time as the Accountant General of Lagos State to court as a fraud suspects who may have aided their principal to channel state funds out of the treasury.
According to the EFCC, “a huge inflow of N9,927,714,443.29” from the state accounts into an FCMB bank account opened on September 17, 2018 during the administration of the immediate past governor of the state, Akinwunmi Ambode raised a red flag.
The commissions plea led a Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday to order the freezing of three bank accounts belonging to the Lagos State Government as officers from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) investigates a N9.9bn fraud.
The EFCC had prayed the court to freeze the account pending the conclusion of investigation and possible prosecution of Adewale Adesanya, the Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Chief of Staff to Ambode.
The EFCC claims that the schedule of the FCMB account showed how Adesanya and other signatories to the account made fraudulent transfer from the accounts of the Lagos State Government and dissipated the funds housed in the said accounts.
Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, has denied involvement in the N9.9bn fraud said to have been discovered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Ambode said none of his accounts contained N9.9bn let alone being frozen by the EFCC.
He said in the spirit of Sallah and having served Lagos State well, his record was clear.
In a statement on Friday by his media aide, Habib Aruna, Ambode said he did not intend to join issues with the anti-corruption agency as there had not been any communication between him and the commission on the issue.
He added that he, however, wanted to clear his name.
According to the former governor, the accounts frozen by the Federal High Court belong to the Lagos State Government and not him or any individual.
“Those accounts were opened in the course of normal operations by the Lagos State Government for its administrative purposes and not for the former governor’s personal transactions as was being wrongly insinuated and have been operated to ensure smooth operations of government activities by previous and present administrations. The former governor was not and will never be involved in any unauthorized use of government property and resources.
“We strongly believe that after four demanding years as Chief Executive of Lagos State, Mr. Ambode is entitled to some deserved rest with his family and loved ones without the unwarranted attacks on his well-earned reputation,” the statement said.