An anti-graft coalition, Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), has petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on an alleged money laundering and funding of the 2014 Ekiti State governorship election campaign of Ayodele Fayose by the Zenith Bank.
In a petition addressed to the acting chairman of the commission, Ibrahim Magu and signed by CSNAC chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju, the group said that if the public confession of Governor Fayose that the bank principally funded his election campaign is true, then Zenith Bank has ran foul of the law and acted in defiance of the law on money laundering and laid down rules and procedures.
Reacting to the report of the freezing of his accounts domicile at Zenith Bank by the EFCC on account of illegal funds from the Office of the former National Security Adviser, Fayose had while debunking allegations by the anti-graft agency that he received funds from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) under Col Sambo Dasuki (rtd.) or the former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, for the purpose of his 2014 election campaign, stated categorically that the said election campaigns was principally funded by Zenith Bank Plc.
“With this open admission and allegations made by Governor Fayose, the alliance, funding and political interference would have foisted upon us a series of crimes committed by both parties. Such contributions and donations by the Zenith Bank Plc are unconstitutional and illegal. The law forbids and criminalizes the donation or contribution of funds and gifts by companies towards the activities or for the benefit of a political party.
“Section 221 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) expressly states that “No association, other than a political party, shall canvass for votes for any candidate at any election or contribute to the funds of any political party or to the election expenses of any candidate at an election.”
“Furthermore, The Companies and Allied Matters Act Cap. C20 L.F.N. 2004 (CAMA) prohibits and criminalizes direct and indirect donation of money or gift to a political party, political association or for any political purpose.
“Section 38 (2) of CAMA provides thus:
“A company shall not have or exercise power either directly or indirectly to make a donation or gift of any of its property or funds to a political party or political association or for any political purpose; and if any company, in breach of this subsection makes any donation or gift of its property to a political party or political association, or for any political purpose, the officers in default and any member who voted for the breach shall be jointly and severally liable to refund to the company the sum or value of the donation or gift and in addition, the company and every such officer or member shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine equal to the amount or value of the donation or gift.”
According to CSNAC, “From the foregoing, it is established that Governor Fayose and Zenith Bank Plc are in gross violation of financial regulations guiding contributions by corporate organisations for political purposes.
“By virtue of the provisions of section 38(2) CAMA above, Zenith Bank Plc should be investigated for its role in the Ekiti State 2014 governorship election. If Fayose’s confession is factual, the directors and officers of the bank who approved and took part in the donation of funds to Fayose for his election should be immediately arrested and prosecuted in line with the law. The sum of money allegedly donated must be accounted for, retrieved and refunded to the bank.
“However, the crux of the matter now is the clear case of money laundering. The election fund was allegedly moved in cash with a bullion Zenith from Abuja to Akure to prosecute the election. The said cash movement is obviously in gross contravention of established rules by the Central Bank of Nigeria and Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011. Section 1 of the Act provides:
“No person or body corporate shall; except in a transaction through a financial institution, make or accept cash payment of a sum exceeding-
#5,000,000 or its equivalent, in the case of an individual; or
#10,000,000 or its equivalent in the case of a body corporate.
The petition reads further, “This transaction is a clear violation of the Act in reference and constitutes an offence within the powers of your Commission. The transaction, if found to be true, must have been conducted with the sole intention of circumventing the system in the illegal deal, in defiance of the law on money laundering and laid down rules and procedures.
“CSNAC is therefore by this petition demanding your urgent action on this matter. We thank you for your usual understanding and promptitude,” the group said.