Thursday, March 5, 2020 4:00 pm
The fraud trial of former Gov. Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti resumed on Thursday before a Federal High Court Lagos, with a prosecution witness, Mr Johnson Abidakun, testifying that about N200 million was conveyed from Fayose’s premises.
Fayose is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged N6.9 billion fraud and money laundering.
He was first arraigned on Oct. 22. 2018, before Justice Mojisola Olatotegun, alongside his company, Spotless Investment Ltd., on 11 counts.
He pleaded not guilty and was granted bail on Oct. 24, 2018, in the sum of N50 million with sureties in like sum.
The former governor was re-arraigned before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke on July 2, 2019, after the case was withdrawn from Olatoregun, following EFCC’s petition.
Fayose equally pleaded not guilty before Aneke who allowed him to continue on the earlier bail.
On Thursday, Abidakun the fifth prosecution witness, told the court that on April 16, 2015, during Fayose’s tenure as Ekiti Governor, he (Abidakun) was called by his supervisor, Mr Abiodun Oshode, who headed a zonal branch of a bank.
He said that Oshode informed him that there was N200 million to be picked up from Fayoses’s house.
The witness, who headed operations in an Ado-Ekiti branch of the bank, was led in evidence by prosecution counsel, Mr Adebisi Adeniyi.
He testified that police personnel accompanied the team which went to bring the money.
The witness said that when the money was brought from the residence of Fayose, it was detail-counted and amounted to N199.5 million.
He said that while detail-counting was ongoing, one Abiodun Agbele (named in the charge) came in with one Taofeek and said that Fayose instructed that the money should be credited to a company called Still Earth Ltd., with Taofeek as the depositor.
The witness said that after counting, the money was deposited in the account of Still Earth, adding that since Taofeek could not write, he was assisted to do so.
Under cross-examination by another defence counsel, Mr Ola Olanipekun (SAN), the witness told the court that he had never been to Fayose’s residence before the money was conveyed.
According to him, he confided in another staff of the bank, Aladegbola Adewale, who knew the place where the money was to be picked up but never knew the amount.
He testified that Adewale had resigned from the bank.
The trial will continue on March 16.
According to the EFCC, on June 17, 2014, Fayose and Abiodun Agbele illegally took possession of N1.2 billion for purpose of funding his gubernatorial election campaign.
The commission 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.
It also alleged that the former governor illegally retained N300 million in his account and took control of aggregate sum of about N622 million which sum he reasonably ought to know formed part of crime proceeds.
The EFCC added that Fayose procured De Privateer Ltd. and Still Earth Ltd. to retain N851 million which formed part of crime proceeds.
It also accused the former governor illegally using about N1.6 billion to acquire property in Lagos and Abuja and unlawfully using N200 million to acquire a property in Abuja, in the name of his elder sister, Moji Oladeji.
The alleged offences contravenes 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.