•As lawyer replies president’s wife
Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State has said that he stands by his claim on Mrs Aisha Buhari.
This came in reaction to a statement in the media on Wednesday, in which the American government was said to have said they had no information to provide on the president’s wife.
A statement by the government, on Wednesday, quoted the counsel for Governor Fayose, Chief Mike Ozekhome, to have “replied the wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, Aisha, through her counsel, Mary Ekpere & Co, justifying the governor’s claim that Aisha Buhari, was indeed, mentioned in the Halliburton scandal.”
The government statement said: “In the letter on July 8, 2016, Ozekhome affirmed that the statement made regarding the involvement of Aisha Buhari in the Halliburton scandal was “correct and justified in law, having regards to a court judgment convicting one Mr William Jefferson for bribery in the Halliburton case.”
According to the statement: “Counsel to the president’s wife ,had written a letter on June 22, 2016, to Governor Fayose, demanding a retraction of the governor’s statement that the president’s wife, was involved in the Halliburton scandal, threatening legal action if the retraction was not made within five days.”
However, Ozekhome said the statement of Governor Fayose was “correct and justified, having been factually premised on an existing court judgment.”
The letter read; “Our client has referred to us your letter on 22nd June, 2016, on alleged defamation of the character of your client, Her excellency, Mrs Aisha Buhari, the wife of President Buhari, with firm instructions to reply to and reject same in its entirety.
“Our client states and reaffirms categorically that the statement he made as regards the involvement of Aisha Buhari, in the Halliburton scandal, is correct and justified in law; having regards to a court judgement convicting one Mr William Jefferson for bribery in the Halliburton case.
“Therein, the name of the president’s wife featured conspicuously. On page 22 of the said judgment, delivered by the United States District Court, Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division, United States of America, in criminal No 1: 07CR209, the said Mr Jefferson was sentenced at 9.00 am on November 13, 2009, by Mark Lytle. Your client, Aisha Buhari was specifically mentioned in the judgment. The judge referred to Exhibits 36-87 in the following words, for clarification.
“See also government exhibits 36-87 (6/26/02 $170,000 wire transfer from account in Nigeria in the name of Aisha Buhari to an account in the name of The ANJ Group, LLC, identifying “William Jefferson” as Beneficiary)… Given the age of the defendant, the severity of the sentence calculated by the probation office, the defendant’s frequent travel overseas and unexplained wire transfers from overseas locations to financial accounts used by the defendant, the defendant cannot rebut the presumption at sentencing that he is a risk of flight.
On the immunity enjoyed by Governor Fayose against civil and criminal proceedings, the SAN said; “Your attention is also hereby drawn to Section 308 of the 1999Constitution, as altered, on the immunity enjoyed by our client from civil or criminal proceedings for the period that he occupies the office of the governor of Ekiti State.
“You may, therefore, advise your client to wait until after October 16, 2018, when our client’s tenure expires. When that happens, we shall join issues with your client in a competent court of law, in the event that your client does not have a change of heart.”