The arrest, our correspondent gathered on Wednesday, was sequel to a petition filed by one Paul Ifere and other indigenes of the state.
The operatives were said to have arrested the younger Ayade after conducting a search on his Calabar residence at about 3pm on Tuesday.
The petition, titled, ‘The Fraud Called Calabar Garment Factory,’’ which was sent to the EFCC on May 12, 2016, accused the state government of spending N2.7bn on the factory through Frank Ayade, who had no defined public role in the administration of Governor Ayade.
An eyewitness living close to Ayade’s house in Calabar, Mr. Ekwe Samson, said, “The operatives were many in number. While some led Dr Frank into the house to conduct a search, others waited outside.
“The search lasted for about one hour before they drove off with Dr Frank again. We got information that the anti-graft agency would be visiting before they came.”
An EFCC official from the South-West, who is among the operatives investigating the matter in Port Harcourt, said, “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.”
The petition made available to newsmen read in part, “Further to my avowed commitments to key into the President Muhammadu Buhari’s change mantra to liberate our country from the epidemic corruption virus, I wish to bring to your notice, knowledge and, indeed, that of the public, the monumental fraud encapsulated in the construction of the Cross River Garment Factory in Calabar by Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State.
“It will interest you to note that from the facts available to me, Governor Ben Ayade’s government so far has spent, through his younger brother, Mr. Frank Ayade, who holds no defined public office, more than N2.7bn on the garment factory.”
Although Governor Ayade did not respond directly to the interrogation of his younger brother by the EFCC, at a press parley in Calabar on Wednesday, he noted that the Calabar Garment Factory was owned by the state government.
While dismissing the insinuations that the factory was privately owned, Ayade stated that there were verifiable documents to prove that there was no fraud involved.
Efforts to speak with the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Christian Ita, proved abortive as he did not respond to calls and text messages.