A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has adjourned until December 1, December 2 and December 3, continuation in the trial of former Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, over alleged N6.9 billion fraud.
The case, which was listed in the cause list for continuation of trial on Monday, was called at about 11.40 am, as parties were awaiting one of the defence counsel.
When the case was eventually called, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), informed the court, that having waited until almost noon, it will be better to grant an adjournment, to enable parties to come back and face the trial.
Although, first defence counsel, Ola Olanipekun (SAN), had urged the prosecutor to begin examination of its witness, who was already present in court, the case was, however, adjourned at the instance of the prosecutor.
The judge had urged parties to take new dates within the year, especially as no progress had been made in the matter since resumption. Following agreement of parties, the case was consequently, adjourned until Dec. 1, Dec. 2 and Dec. 3 respectively for continuation of trial
It would be recalled that Fayose was being prosecuted by the EFCC over N6.9billion fraud and money laundering charges. He was first arraigned on Oct. 22. 2018, before Justice Mojisola Olatoregun, alongside his company, Spotless Investment Ltd, on 11 counts bordering on fraud and money laundering offence.
He had pleaded not guilty to the charges and was granted bail on Oct. 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 The defendant was subsequently, re-arraigned before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke, on July 2, 2019, after the case was withdrawn from Justice Olatoregun, following EFCC’s petition.
He had also pleaded not guilty to the charges and was allowed to continue the earlier bail granted, while the case was adjourned for trial. The commission has since opened its case before Justice Aneke and was still leading witnesses in evidence.
During trial before Olatoregun, the prosecution had called witnesses, from several commercial banks, as well as a former Minister of State for Defence, Sen. 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 gubernatorial election campaign in Ekiti, 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.
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 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 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.
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 sum he ought to know also forms crime proceeds.
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.