EFCC Denies Poisoning Former Skye Bank Chairman

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Tunde Ayeni
Tunde Ayeni

Olaseni Durojaiye

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Saturday denied that it poisoned an erstwhile Chairman of Skye Bank Plc (now Polaris Bank), Mr. Tunde Ayeni.

The commission, also, said Ayeni, Chairman of Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company and Vice Chairman of ntel, was not dead contrary to some media reports.

It denied the report in a statement Saturday two months after the former Skye Bank boss was arrested and detained in the custody of the anti-graft agency.

The Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) had raised the alarm over alleged clampdown on opposition figures by the federal government using various state institutions.

Specifically, the CUPP alleged that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) secretly arrested Ayeni, who is a close associate of the consensus opposition candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

In a statement by its spokesperson, Mr. Ikenga Ugochinyere in Abuja on Friday, the CUPP claimed that a credible source revealed that Ayeni is currently undergoing treatment in an undisclosed medical facility after he was poisoned in the detention cell of the EFCC.

The CUPP demanded for the immediate release of Ayeni from EFCC custody for proper medical attention. The parties also insisted that the case against the ex-Skye Bank boss should be charged to court immediately if indeed there was anything found against him.

In its statement yesterday, the EFCC lamented that the intention of this false alarm was to incite public opinion against the anti-graft commission.

The statement said, “We found it compelling to state in no unclear terms that Mr Ayeni upon arrest and conveyance to the Commission was neither offered food nor drink by our operatives.

“There was also nothing consumable: food, drink or water that was brought to him within the brief period he was with his interrogators. When he complained of illness and opted to see a doctor, which he was promptly obliged.

“We also wish to state that so far, there has not been any report of any dire health condition on Ayeni. It is likely there would not be. The public may wish to know that the commission in the course of its duties has become conversant with all manners of theatrics from some suspects who would elect not to cooperate.

“It is also our desire to inform the CUPP that as a commission, we follow due process, and that we are a law-abiding entity and as such, will not keep Ayeni longer than required by law. We also give our word that he will have his day in court as and when due.

“It is important at this point that we restate that the Commission under the leadership of its Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu is well insulated from goings-on in the political space and that our mandate is well cut out for us by constitution.

“We therefore wish to clarify that Ayeni as former Chairman of the failed Skye Bank has allegations of corruption to thrash out with us. It was strictly for this purpose that he became our guest.”

“Any other consideration outside this is unknown to us. Again, much as we find the claim of being handed a list of 45 opposition figures to invite, arrest, detain and restrain before the opening of polls on February 16, as contained in the CUPP release utterly nonsensical, we note that it is a grave disservice to the country at this material time for anyone to seek to aggravate the heat in political space with a reckless rumour such as this from the CUPP.”

The statement, therefore, urged the public “not to be swayed by the rumour but treat it with the disregard it thoroughly deserves.”