The Managing Director of the Zenith Bank, Mr. Peter Amangbo, has said neither himself nor the bank’s chairman ever met with the Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose, or funded his 2014 election.
This was contained in a statement the bank made to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The Nation reports that the denial emerged even as a bullion van driver has spoken of his role in evacuating N1.299 billion from the Akure airport for Ekiti State Governor Faose.
The driver, Omotoso Olaoluwa, told EFCC detectives that he got no tip for moving the cash even at night.
Olaoluwa said: “On 17/6/2014 on the directive of the branch management of Zenith Bank, Akure, I went to Akure Airport to move cash to the bank. The cash could not be moved once for the first time. So we had to go to the airport the second time.
“ Some amount of cash was deposited in the state branch, some amount was moved to the Spotless Hotel in Ado-Ekiti together with Fayose’s aide, Mr., Abiodun Agbele.
“We moved the cash with three vehicles, including one bullion van and two Toyota Hilux vehicles. The two Toyota Hilux were filled with members of the Nigerian Army that provided the security.
“In my bullion van, nobody was with me but Abiodun Agbele was in the Hilux. That was the first time I went to Akure Airport around 12pm.
“But the second time was in the evening, very late but I don’t know the actual amount that we moved to Spotless.
“It was Biodun Oshode that instructed me to move the cash to Spotless Hotel. I mean the Zonal Head (around 7:30pm). We got to Ado-Ekiti Spotless around 7.30pm.
“The key to the vault in the bullion van was with one Mr. Abiodun Agbele. He was the one that later opened the vault. Mr. Biodun did not give me cash and I did not discuss anything with him after the cash was offloaded.
“Mr. Biodun Agbele later returned the key to the vault to me. Before I left the place, I checked everywhere, there was nothing in the van.”
Zenith Bank Managing Director denied the bank’s alleged link with Fayose.
He also said the chairman of the bank, Mr. Jim Ovia, never had any audience with Fayose on the slush funds.
Amangbo stressed that the bank did not at any time fund Fayose’s election
An EFCC source quoted Amangbo as saying: “At no time did I meet with a certain Abiodun Agbele or any of his agents.
“The allegation that Zenith Bank funded Ekiti governorship election is false. Zenith Bank as a foremost financial institution maintains cordial relationship with authorities of states where it maintains presence.”
In the case of Ekiti, the bank denied holding any business activity with the state to warrant any financial commitment to the state or its agents. In fact, Zenith Bank has only one very small branch in the entire Ekiti State. I have never heard of the company De Privateer Nigeria Limited until the cause of this investigation when I requested my subordinates for the brief.
“At no time did Ayo Fayose, the Chairman of Zenith Bank (Jim Ovia) and myself held any meeting at all to discuss the subject matter.
“I wish to state that Jim Ovia does not maintain any office in Zenith Bank premises neither does he get involved in the day-to-day transactions of the Bank.
“We did not fund or support governorship election of Ekiti State. The bank did not give any kobo to Ayo Fayose or any of his associates or agents, neither did we support any political party in any form.
“As a matter of policy, we don’t fund nor support any political association in any form”.
An EFCC Investigating Officer, Tosin Owobo, has told the Federal High Court, Ado-Ekiti how the N1, 299,490,000.00 was wired into Fayose’s accounts by Agbele.
Owobo, who swore to an affidavit, said: “That the total sum of N 1, 219,490,000 was conveyed to Akure Airport by Senator Obanikoro through a chartered aircraft with Registration No: HS125-800 5N-BMT belonging to Gyro Air Limited.”
“That on the 17th day of June, 2014 Mr. Alade Oluseye in the company of one Abiodun Agbele, a front of the applicant (Fayose), went to the Akure Airport wherein they took cash delivery of the sum of N724,500,000.00 from Senator Musiliu Obanikoro and his acclaimed Aide-de-Camp Lieutenant Colonel A.O Adewale.
“That on the 18th day of June, 2014, N494, 990,000 was also delivered to Mr. Alade Oluseye by the said minister in the same manner.
“ That the total sum of N 1, 219,490,000 was conveyed to Akure Airport by Senator Obanikoro through a chartered aircraft with Registration No: HS125-800 5N-BMT belonging to Gyro Air Limited.”