New Telegraph

Bench Warrant Against Banue: Kwara PDP Accuses EFCC Of Misleading Court

…Says Former Finance Commissioner Didn’t Jump Bail

The Kwara state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused the Ilorin Zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of engaging in blackmail and sensationalism in the Agency’s prosecution of ex-governor Abdulfatah Ahmed and the former commissioner for Finance, Hon Demola Banu.

The Party noted that the latest round of persecution in the State of Harmony was shown in the charges prepared against the former Governor of the state, Dr Abdulfatah Ahmed, and the former Commissioner for Finance, Hon. Ademola Banu, which it said were deliberately orchestrated to silence the voice of the opposition in Kwara State.

In a statement issued in Ilorin on Wednesday and signed by the Party’s State Publicity Secretary, Olusegun Olusola Adewara, (Sholyments), Kwara PDP submitted that EFCC deliberately misled the Court when it claimed that Hon. Demola Banu jumped administrative bail and consequently demanded that bench warrant be issued against him.

The Party emphasised that at no point in time did Hon Banu refuse to honour any invitation from the EFCC, adding that: “In fact, the anti-graft agency did not extend an invitation to Hon. Banu, noting that the Court was misled by the agency into issuing a bench warrant against the former Commissioner.

“Kwarans would recall that in 2019, Hon. Ademola Banu was earlier taken to court by the EFCC while those who were then in charge of the anti-graft agency later realized that it was a wrong action and they voluntarily discontinued the case on 18th November 2020.

“We make bold to state that since November 2020, Hon. Ademola Banu had never been invited by the EFCC in respect of any matter whatsoever, and surprisingly, media reports claimed on Friday, 23rd February 2024 that Hon. Ademola Banu jumped EFCC’s administrative bail and subsequently had a bench warrant issued against him.

“We want to put it on record that it is untrue and unfounded that Hon. Ademola Banu jumped bail because since his discharge by the Court in 2020, he has never received any invitation from the EFCC and some Party elders had asked Hon Banu to take legal action before we urged patience and that is why we have taken it upon ourselves to explain to the good people of Kwara that the allegations of jumping bail is not only untrue but a deliberate promotion of falsehood.”

“The question a discerning mind should ask is; why will Hon Banu jump bail? He had been detained and taken to the Court by the EFCC four years ago.

“We would therefore like to assert as a Party that Hon Banu, a prominent member of our Party, and an illustrious son of Kwara, did not jump bail and he had no reason to do so. Actually, it would amount to self-abasement of the worst kind for him to do such a thing.
Hon Banu did not jump bail as alleged.

“Secondly, we noticed that the charges filed against former Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed and Hon Ademola Banu are virtually the same charges the EFCC had in 2020, declared to be baseless, and unfounded which led to the discharge of Hon. Ademola Banu in the year 2020, in our estimation as a Party, it is utterly laughable to allege that two individuals diverted Kwara State resources for merely performing their Constitutional responsibilities and duties.

“It should be noted that Alhaji Abdulfatah as the then Executive Governor of Kwara State had unfettered powers to run the State according to the laid down laws and guidelines which he did.

“Hon. Ademola Banu as the then Commissioner for Finance did not also act outside the budget of the Kwara State Government as approved by the Kwara State House of Assembly. From Hon. Banu’s antecedents, all financial transactions of the Kwara State Government during his time as Commissioner were not contrary to financial guidelines of the State where inputs were taken from different departments of the Ministry of Finance, the Permanent Secretary, the Accountant General of the State, the Treasury arm of the State, the State House of Assembly, etc before any fund is released based on the approval of the Governor.

“Importantly, the EFCC has failed to bring forth any concrete or credible material fact or evidence to nail Hon. Banu which led to the earlier withdrawal of the charges against him in 2020 and it is worrisome that these same charges have now been refiled against Hon. Banu and Governor Abdulfatah.

“Our party has documents of the vital resolutions of the Kwara State House of Assembly, budgetary allocations of the Kwara State Government under Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, memos for drawing finances, approvals for actions on memos for finances, etc and we will be making them available to media Houses on request.

“It should be noted that during Banu’s unjust ordeal in the hands of the EFCC, the former Finance Commissioner honoured EFCC’s invitation over ten (10) times and was unjustly detained on numerous occasions and as a Party, we would this time around, not look the other way whilst the EFCC apparatus is deployed to further harass and victimize any of our members in Kwara State as we would definitely be forced to take legal actions specifically against individuals and named operatives of EFCC who are being used to unjustly torment our members, subject them to psychological traumas and smear their good image before the public.

“On this note, the PDP in Kwara state calls on the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the leadership of the national assembly to caution the North Central zonal leadership of the EFCC to stop them from further connivance with the Abdulrahman-led Kwara state government to intimidate opposition members in the state.

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