Nigeria: Judge's Absence Stalls Fraud Trial of Fayose

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday, further adjourned until June 10, the trial of embattled former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, facing N6.9 billion fraud charges.

The case, which was slated for continuation of trial, was further adjourned, as Justice Mojisola Olatoregun was said to be on official assignment.

Trial will resume on the next adjourned date.

Mr Fayose was arraigned on an 11-count charge by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on October 22, 2018, alongside a company, Spotless Investment Ltd.

He pleaded not guilty and was granted bail in the sum of N50 million with one surety in like sum.

The EFCC opened its case on November 19, 2018, and had so far called 13 witnesses.

At the last adjourned date, on May 10, the prosecution had sought an adjournment of the case, after it informed the court that its 13th witness, Adewale Aladegbola, seemed to be hostile.

The court had consequently adjourned the case to enable prosecution decide on its next line of action.

According to the charge, Messrs Fayose and Abiodun Agbele were said to have on June 17, 2014, taken possession of N1.2 billion for funding his gubernatorial election campaign.

The EFCC said that the defendants reasonably ought to have known that the sum formed part of crime proceeds.

Mr Fayose was also alleged to have received a cash payment of five million dollars, (about N1.8 billion) from the then Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, without going through any financial institution.

The EFCC noted that the sum exceeded the amount allowed by law.

Mr Fayose was also accused of retaining N300 million in a Zenith bank account and illegally taking control of the aggregate sums of about N622 million.

The former governor was equally alleged to have procured De Privateer Ltd. and Still Earth Ltd. to illegally retain in their Zenith Bank accounts number 1013835889 an aggregate sum of N851 million.

He was also alleged to have unlawfully used about N1.6 billion to acquire properties in Lagos and Abuja.

The EFCC equally charged the former governor with unlawfully using N200 million to acquire a property in Abuja in the name of his elder sister, Moji Oladeji.

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, 2011.

NAN

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