Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State today forces Access Bank to shut down its operations in the state. Mr. Fayose's extraordinary action came after bank officials prevented the girlfriend of former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, from drawing funds from the flagged account.
SaharaReporters learned that Mr. Fani-Kayode's girlfriend arrived in Ekiti and attempted to withdraw funds from an account linked to slush provided by detained former National Security Adviser, Dasuki. The account is part of the subject of the former Aviation minister's ongoing prosecution for fraud at a Federal High Court in Lagos.
Saharareporters learned that security officials concluded that an account opened at Access Bank by one "Sonia Chikwendu Precious," with account number 0024425113, was linked to money laundering. The account was flagged after security and anti-corruption agents determined that it was one of the several accounts into which another former minister, Esther Usman Nenadi, paid illicit funds.
When Fani-Kayode's girlfriend arrived at Access Bank in Ekiti to withdraw funds, bank officials contacted agents of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The EFCC had earlier instructed the bank to alert security agents whenever anybody showed up to carry out transactions on the account.
Sahara correspondent learned that Ms. Precious was with her eight-month-old baby at the time of her arrest. the EFCC officials in Lagos asked the Divisional Police Officer in charge of a police station near the Ajilosun branch of the bank in Ado Ekiti to release her on bail as EFCC agents in Lagos were unable to get to Ekiti on time to take a statement from the nursing mother.
Sahara source said the DPO contacted Governor Fayose who then rushed to the bank to free Mr. Fani-Kayode's girlfriend. After freeing her from the bank, Mr. Fayose then marched back to the bank premises to close down the bank, swearing that the bank would never operate in Ekiti during the remainder of his tenure as governor.
Several months ago, Mr. Fayose also humiliated Zenith Bank officials in the state, demanding that one of the bank managers go on his knees to apologize for exposing his laundering of slush funds provided for gubernatorial campaign purposes by former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2014.
In an apparent effort to gain public sympathy and whitewash Mr. Fayose's action as well as the attempt by Mr. Fani-Kayode's girlfriend to withdraw funds from a flagged, both the governor and the former Aviation minister issued statements claiming that the EFCC detained Fani-Kayode's mistress along with an 8-month old baby.
EFCC sources told SaharaReporters that Ms. Precious Chikwendu was used as a front to open two fake bank accounts at Diamond Bank and 15 bank accounts at Guaranty Trust Bank to launder funds for Mr. Fani-Kayode during a time the ex-minister waxed strong as the chief propagandist for Mr. Jonathan's re-election bid in 2015.
Mr. Fani-Kayode is currently on trial for multi-billion naira money laundering before a Federal High Court in Lagos.
Precious Chikwendu, a key player in the former minister's money laundering operations, had used the Zenith bank account linked to Fani -Kayode to apply for her BVN. Security agents said BVN checks showed that the woman had been employed by Mr. Fani-Kayode to execute several fraudulent transactions.
In 2015, Mr. Fani-Kayode purchased a Range Rover Sports SUV for the mother of his baby. An EFCC source said the car was a likely appreciation for the woman's role in laundering funds for him.
Mr. Fani-Kayode has a history of using females for money laundering, in 2007 he used a girlfriend of his Chioma Anasoh to launder money, specifically on June 27th, 2007 Chioma was arrested with $240,000 said to be cash belonging to Fani-Kayode.
She was arrested after boarding a plane to travel on a British Airways flight to London from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.