By Sandra Umeh
Lagos, Dec. 4, 2020 A Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday adjourned until Jan. 22, trial of former Gov. Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti for N6.9 billion fraud and money laundering.
Fayose is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
He was first arraigned on Oct. 22. 2018, on 11 counts before Justice Mojisola Olatotegun.
He was arraigned alongside his company, Spotless Investment Ltd.
Fayose pleaded not guilty and was granted bail on Oct. 24, 2018, in the sum of N50 million with sureties in like sum.
The defendant was re-arraigned before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke on July 2, 2019, after the case was withdrawn from Olatoregun, following EFCC’s petition.
He also pleaded not guilty before Aneke and was allowed to continue on the bail earlier granted, while the case was adjourned for trial.
The EFCC has since opened its case and is still leading witnesses in evidence.
On Friday, EFCC counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), informed the court that he was indisposed.
He prayed for adjournment.
The application was not opposed by defence.
The court consequently adjourned the case until Jan. 22, 2021, for continuation of trial.
The court also granted an application by defence seeking its leave to enable Fayose to travel overseas on medical grounds.
According to the EFCC, on June 17, 2014, Fayose and one Abiodun Agbele unlawfully took possession of N1.2 billion for the purpose of funding his gubernatorial election campaign.
The EFCC said that the duo reasonably ought to have known that the sum formed part of crime proceeds.
It also alleged that Fayose 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.
Fayose was also alleged to have unlawfully retained N300 million in his bank account and took control of aggregate sums of about N622 million which formed crime proceeds.
Fayose was also alleged to have procured De Privateer Ltd. and Still Earth Ltd. to illegally retain N851 million.
Besides, the defendant allegedly used about N1.6 billion crime proceeds to acquire property in Lagos and Abuja.
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.
The EFCC said that the sum formed part of crime proceeds.
The alleged offences contravene the provisions of Sections 15(1), 15 (2), 15 (3), 16(2)(b), 16 (d) and 18 (c) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act of 2011.