WITNESS’ ABSENCE STALLS FAYOSE’s N2.2BN FRAUD TRIAL

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A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Monday adjourned the alleged N2.2bn fraud trial of a former Ekiti governor, Ayodele Fayose till October 20, following a prosecution witness’ absence.
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) prosecutor Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) told Justice C.J. Aneke that a relative of the witness had been admitted to a COVID-19 isolation centre.
Mr Jacobs’ application for an adjournment was not opposed by defence counsel, Mr Olalekan Ojo (SAN),
Justice Aneke granted the applicant’s prayer.
According to the charge, Fayose and one Abiodun Agbele were accused of taking possession of N1.2 billion on June 17, 2014, to fund 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 $5 million (about N1.8 billion) from a former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, without going through any financial institution and which sum exceeded the amount allowed by law.
He was also alleged to have retained N300 million in his bank account and took control of about N622 million which sum he ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.
The former governor was also alleged to have procured De Privateer Ltd and Still Earth Ltd, to retain N851 million in his bank account which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.
Besides, the defendant was alleged to have used about N1.6 billion to acquire property in Lagos and Abuja, which sums he reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.
The defendant 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, the EFCC said, contravened sections 15(1), 15 (2), 15 (3), 16(2)(b), 16 (d), and 18 (c) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011.
Fayose and his firm Spotless Investment Ltd pleaded not guilty.

By Robert Egbe

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