Absence of EFCC counsel stalls N6.9bn fraud trial of Fayose
A Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday until May 21, the trial of a former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, facing N6.9 billion fraud charges.
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 the continuation of trial.
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 the prosecution to on its next line of action.
When the case was called on Tuesday, Messrs Ola Olanipekun (SAN) and Olalekan Ojo (SAN) had respectively announced appearances for the defendants.
The defence then informed the court that the prosecutor was absent and had not written any letter to them, and had urged the court to stand down the case for some time, to enable the prosecutor to attend court.
The matter was, however, adjourned, after the stand down, yielded no result.
In the charge, Fayose and one Abiodun Agbele were said to have on June 17, 2014, taken possession of the sum of N1.2 billion, for purposes of funding his gubernatorial election campaign in Ekiti State, which sum they reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.
Fayose was alleged to have received a cash payment of the sum 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 and which sum exceeded the amount allowed by law.
He was also alleged to have retained the sum of N300 million in his Zenith bank account and took control of the aggregate sums of about N622 million which sum he ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.
Fayose was alleged to have procured De Privateer Ltd and Still Earth Ltd, to retain in their accounts, the aggregate sums of N851 million which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.
Besides, the defendant was alleged to have used the aggregate sums of about N1.6 billion to acquire properties in Lagos and Abuja, which sums he reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.
The accused was also alleged to have used the sum of N200 million, to acquire a property in Abuja, in the name of his elder sister Moji Oladeji, which sum he ought to know also forms crime proceeds.
The offences contravened 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.