– Governor Fayose’s claims as regard the funding of his 2014 elections tends no longer to hold water

– Fayose had earlier said that Zenith bank was responsible for the funding of his 2014 bid

– Zenith bank has denied the allegations

 

Governor Fayose might need another alibi regarding the source of funds for his 2014 gubernatorial campaign.

Zenith Bank has said it had nothing to do with the funding of Governor Fayose’s 2014 election. Reports suggest that few weeks after the governor of Ekiti state alleged that his 2014 governorship election campaign was funded by Zenith Bank, the bank has rebuffed the claim saying it never funded the election of any politician. The bank, which had remained quiet over the issue, yesterday issued a statement signed by its Head of Corporate Communications, Victor Edoji and made available on the website of the Nigerian Stock Exchange saying

“Zenith Bank did not fund the governorship election of Ekiti state or indeed any other election in the country. Leadership reports that having denied allegations by the Economic and a Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), linking him with funds from the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), Fayose had last month responded that  his 2014 election was funded by Zenith Bank Plc, fund raisers, donations from friends and associates as well as sales of campaign souvenirs. Zenith Bank in the statement issued however explained  that it was never a party to the EFCC investigation regarding the account of the governor of Ekiti state. “The EFCC wrote to the bank in the course of its investigation to make enquiries and also directed that the bank temporarily suspend operations on the account pending conclusion of investigations, which the bank complied with.

“As a policy, the bank does not make political donation or fund any political association or party. The bank’s only branch in Ekiti state predates the assumption of office of the current administration.

Governor Fayose is said to have obtained money from the controversial loot of Col Sambo Dasuki, the former NSA. “Moreover, the bank does not hold any business account of Ekiti state till date. There was therefore no incentive to fund the election as alleged. Zenith bank management would like to reassure and state that it will continue to conduct its business in line with best practices and extant banking laws and regulations,” the bank explained.

The Ekiti state governor who had circulated video clips showing purported staff of Zenith Bank begging him had alleged that the management of Zenith Bank largely funded his election, providing funds from its branches in Akure, Ibadan and Lagos into the account of one of his trusted allies. The EFCC had placed restrictions on the  accounts of Fayose and Musiliu Obanikoro saying it had traced funds from the office of the NSA to their accounts.

The commission said the funds, amounting to about N4.7billion, was moved from accounts operated by two of Obanikoro’s sons where it was transferred to Fayose’s Zenith Bank Account in Ado-Ekiti. In the same vein, the EFCC says it has made a headway in the alleged corruption case against the Ekiti state governor and his associate, Abiodun Agbele. Agbele is currently in the EFCC net, he is said to have received N1.219bn from a former minister of state for defence, Musiliu Obanikoro. The funds were received on behalf of Fayose during the build-up to the Ekiti governorship election in June 2014.