Court Adjourns Fayose’s Alleged Money Laundering Trial Till December

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has adjourned the continuation of the trial of former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, over allegations of fraud and money laundering until December 1, 2 and 3.

At the resumption of proceedings on Monday, the case was initially stalled while parties waited for one of the defence counsels.

When the case was eventually called at about 11:40am, counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Rotimi Jacobs, told the court that having waited until almost noon, it would be better to grant an adjournment, to enable parties to come back and face the trial.

Although the first defence counsel and SAN, Ola Olanipekun, asked the EFCC to proceed with the testimony of its witness who was present in court, the case was, however, adjourned at the instance of the prosecutor’s counsel.

Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke asked parties to take new dates within the year, especially as no progress had been made in the matter since it resumed before him.

Following the agreement of the parties, the case was adjourned for continuation of trial.

Fayose is being prosecuted by the anti-graft agency over an alleged N2.2bn fraud and money laundering charge.

He was first arraigned on October 22, 2018, before Justice Mojisola Olatoregun, alongside his company, Spotless Investment Limited on 11 counts.

He had pleaded not guilty 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The defendant was subsequently re-arraigned before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke on July 2, 2019, after the case was withdrawn from Justice Olatoregun, following a petition by the EFCC alleging bias on her part.

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He had also pleaded not guilty to the charge and was allowed to continue to enjoy the earlier bail granted.

The commission has since opened its case before Justice Aneke and has started taking witnesses in evidence.

During the trial before Olatoregun, the prosecution had called witnesses from several commercial banks, as well as a former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro.

According to the charge, on June 17, 2014, Fayose and one Abiodun Agbele, were said to have taken possession of the sum of N1.2 billion for purposes of funding his governorship election campaign in Ekiti, sum which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.

Fayose was alleged to have received a cash payment of the sum of $5million (about N1.8 billion) from Obanikoro without going through any financial institution.

He was also alleged to have retained the sum of N300 million in his account and took control of the aggregate sums of about N622 million, which he reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.

Fayose was alleged to have procured De Privateer Limited and Still Earth Limited to retain 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 he reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.

He 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 he ought to know also formed part of the proceeds of crime.

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The EFCC said 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.

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