By Sandra Umeh
The Federal High Court in Lagos, on Tuesday, further adjourned the continuation of trial of former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, facing charges of fraud and money laundering.
Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), the prosecution Counsel, who was expected to call his eighth witness, told the trial judge, Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke, that there were difficulties bringing the witness to court.
He consequently, prayed for an adjournment.
Following the request by the prosecutor, Justice Aneke adjourned the matter until Oct. 19 and 20 for continuation of trial.
Fayose is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged N6.9billion fraud and money laundering.
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 offences.
The former governor of Ekiti 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The defendant was subsequently, re-arraigned before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke, on July 2, 2019, after the case was withdrawn from Justice Olatoregun, following EFCC’s petition.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 on the earlier bail granted, while the case was adjourned for trial.
The commission has since opened its case before Justice Aneke, and is still leading witnesses in evidence.
During the 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.
It said that this, they reasonably ought to have known, formed part of proceeds of crime.
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 formed crime proceeds.
The offences, the prosecution 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.