Fayose’s N6.9bn fraud trial stalled

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TRACKING>>The trial of former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, facing N6.9 billion fraud charges has been stalled at the Federal High Court in Lagos.

Justice Mojisola Olatoregun stood down the case for one hour to wait for the prosecution counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), when the case was first called at 1.00p.m.

After the court waited for one hour but the prosecutor did not show up, the court adjourned the case for continuation of trial to May 21.

Fayose was arraigned on an 11-count charge by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Oct. 22, 2018, alongside a company, Spotless Investment Ltd.

He pleaded not guilty and was granted bail in the sum of N50 million with one surety in like sum.

The EFCC opened its case on Nov. 19, 2018.

At the last adjourned date, on May 10, the prosecution sought an adjournment of the case, after it informed the court that its 13th witness, Adewale Aladegbola, seemed to be hostile.

The court adjourned the case to enable prosecution to decide on its next line of action.

On Tuesday, Messrs Ola Olanipekun (SAN) and Olalekan Ojo (SAN) announced appearances for the defendants and informed the court that prosecution counsel was absent and did not write any letter to them.

They urged the court to stand down the case for some time to enable the counsel to be present.

The matter was however, adjourned, after the stand down yielded not result.

In the charge, Fayose and one Abiodun Agbele were said to have on June 17, 2014, taken possession of N1.2 billion for funding his gubernatorial election campaign.

The EFCC said that they defendants reasonably ought to have known that the sum formed part of crime proceeds.

Fayose was also alleged to have received a cash payment of five million dollars, (about N1.8 billion) from the then Minister of State for Defence, Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro, without going through any financial institution.

The EFCC noted that the sum exceeded the amount allowed by law.

Fayose was also accused of retaining N300 million in a bank account and illegally taking control of the aggregate sums of about N622 million.

The former governor was equally alleged to have procured De Privateer Ltd. and Still Earth Ltd. to illegally retain in their accounts, the aggregate sums of N851 million.

He was also alleged to have unlawfully used about N1.6 billion to acquire property in Lagos and Abuja.

The EFCC equally charged the former governor with unlawfully using N200 million to acquire a property in Abuja in the name of his elder sister, Moji Oladeji.

The alleged offences contravene the provisions of Sections 15(1), 15 (2), 15 (3), 16(2)(b), 16 (d), and 18 (c) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011.

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