Nigeria: Controversy Trails EFCC's Search of Ambode's House

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has denied claims that its operatives attempted to plant foreign currencies in the home of the former Lagos State governor, Akinwunmi Ambode.

In a statement Tuesday evening, the EFCC said an attempt by its operatives to search Mr Ambode's home in Epe was resisted by hoodlums loyal to the governor.

"The thugs attacked the operatives and vandalized their vehicle," the commission said in the statement by its spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren.

EFCC operatives on Tuesday searched the homes of Mr Ambode at Park View Estate and Epe as part of an ongoing corruption investigation against the former governor. The search at Epe was, however, met with fierce resistance from the locals.

"The commission had obtained valid warrant to conduct search on Ambode's residences in Park View, Ikoyi and country home in Epe, as part of ongoing investigation of alleged malfeasance," Mr Uwujaren said.

"However, the commission's operatives were attacked and prevented from executing the search warrant in Epe by irate youths who injured three officers and damaged EFCC official vehicle.

"The attack was totally unprovoked as the commission's operatives were civic and did not molest anybody."

'Incriminating Ambode'

Some of the former governor's loyalists accused the EFCC operatives of attempting to plant foreign currencies at his Epe home to incriminate him.

A statement signed by three lawyers said the anti-graft operatives had attempted to search Mr Ambode's Epe home without supervision.

"We resisted as young lawyers and stated expressly that the principle of search is that the owner of the premises or his representatives must be present to observe the search," read the statement jointly issued Fatai Adebanjo, Busari Olanrewaju, and Samson Okuneye.

"They succumbed to our superior argument and allowed us and the people who has the key to the ex-governor's house into the apartment with them. Before they entered, we searched all the officials of the EFCC who intended to go in to effect the search.

"There was a blue bag which they were holding with them, we requested to see the content of the bag before they could take it in. They got angry and said we cannot see the content. Having said that, we strongly resisted them to take it in since they cant allow us to see it, which they later agreed.

"We later got to know that the bag contained foreign currency which they brought to plant in the house of the ex-governor to incriminate him.

"It is important to inform the public that before the entered the house, we all submitted our phones to them as they requested that the only person required to go in with phone is one of them who will record the whole process."

The statement said no incriminating material was found in Mr Ambode's home.

The EFCC said claims that its operatives attempted to incriminate Mr Ambode were untrue.

"The commission therefore frowns at the attempt to manipulate the video of the search to create the wrong impression that officers of the agency molested residents at the Epe home of the governor.

"It is also not true that the search was an attempt to plant foreign currencies in the home of the former governor."

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