The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arrested Frank Ayade, a younger brother of the Cross River State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, following a petition accusing him of fraud involving the Calabar Garment Factory located in Maitama, Abuja. The petition was signed by an activist Paul Ifere and some other indigenes of the state.
The Punch newspaper reports that Ayade was arrested at about 3pm on Tuesday after the commission searched his house.
“The commission is investigating several petitions that have been written about shady transactions in relation to the Cross River Garment Factory and other matters in the state,” an EFCC official said.
In the petition sent by Ifere, he said N2.7 billion has been spent on the factory through Frank Ayade who holds no defined public office in the state.
Corporate Affairs Commission records show that the factory was incorporated on the 23rd of June 2015, about 3 weeks after Ayade became Governor.
“In spite of the huge state resources so far invested in the construction of the Factory wherein the public is deceived fraudulently to believe that the Factory was owned by the State Government, it is privately owned,” the petition stated, listing the directors as friends, relations and personal solicitors of the governor including Dr. Edward Otu Obi-Akatchak and Barr. Ubua Emmanuel who have 1.5m ordinary shares each.
“The Cross River State Government whose Billions of Naira are invested into the project holds no shares whatsoever in the said Calabar Garment Factory,” the petitioner said.
The governor, through his spokesman, Christian Ita, has denied the reports, insisting that the factory is government owned.
“The Cross River Garment Factory Ltd is one of the Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) of the State Government. It is owned by the Government. It was incorporated alongside other 18 SPVs as part of the economic blue-print of Governor Ayade’s administration.
“The Factory is a State Government SPV. Out of the allotted 60 percent shares of the company, Cross River State Government has 30% direct equity interest being held on its behalf by Ministry Of Finance Incorporated (MOFI),” the spokesman said.
The document displayed by the governor’s spokesman gives the same private individuals named by Ifere as co-owners. But they decided in a board meeting of September 14, 2015 to update their record with the inclusion of the Cross River state Ministry Of Finance Incorporated (MOFI) as a director with 30% holdings.