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Alleged fraud: Court adjourns Fayose’s trial till January

Ayodele-Fayose1
Ayodele Fayose

The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, on Friday, adjourned the alleged money laundering trial of former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, until January 31 and February 1, 2023.

The case was earlier scheduled for the continuation of trial on October 26, but could not proceed due to a mix-up in the date, while a new trial date was to be agreed on by parties and fixed by the court.

Fayose is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over N6.9billion fraud and money laundering charges. He was first arraigned on October 22, 2018, before Justice Mojisola Olatotegun, alongside his company, Spotless Investment Ltd, on 11 counts bordering on fraud and money laundering offences. He had pleaded not guilty to the charges and was granted bail on October 24, 2018, in the sum of N50 million with sureties in like sum. The defendant was subsequently, re-arraigned before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke, on July 2, 2019, after the case was withdrawn from Justice Olatotegun, following EFCC’s petition. He had also pleaded not guilty to the charges and was allowed to continue on the earlier bail granted, while the case was adjourned for trial.

The commission has since opened its case before Justice Aneke and is still leading witnesses in evidence.

In December 2021, EFCC called its 11th witness, one Mrs Joanne Tolulope, who narrated how Abiodun Agbele, an associate of Fayose, bought properties worth several million. The trial will now continue on January 31, 2023.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that during the trial before Justice Olatotegun the prosecution had called witnesses, from several commercial banks, as well as a former Minister of State for Defence, Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro.

The EFCC alleged that on June 17, 2014, Fayose and one Abiodun Agbele were said to have taken possession of the sum of N1.2 billion. The money was said to be for the purposes of funding his gubernatorial election campaign in Ekiti, a sum they reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.

Fayose was 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. He was also alleged to have retained N300 million in his account and took control of the aggregate sums of about N622 million which sum he reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds. Fayose was alleged to have procured De Privateer Ltd and Still Earth Ltd, to retain the aggregate sum 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 sum of about N1.6 billion to acquire properties in Lagos and Abuja, which he reasonably ought to have known formed part of the crime proceeds. He was also alleged to have used N200 million, to acquire a property in Abuja, in the name of his older sister Moji Oladeji.

The offence, the anti-graft agency said, 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.

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