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Things seem to have gotten to a head as the money laundering trial of one of the former Governors of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, was on Monday completely stalled before a Federal High Court Lagos as the trial court did not sit for the full proceedings.
The trial which had also been fixed for continuation on Monday, could not proceed as the trial judge Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke was said to be attending a conference which coincided with the meeting.
A new date will now be agreed on by the parties in due course.
Fayose is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for N6.9billion fraud and money laundering charges.
He was first arraigned on Oct. 22. 2018, before Justice Mojisola Olatotegun, alongside his company, Spotless Investment Ltd, on 11 counts bordering on fraud and money laundering offences. He had pleaded not guilty to the charges and was granted bail on Oct. 24, 2018, in the sum of ₦50 million with sureties in like sum.
The defendant, was however, subsequently, re-arraigned before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke, on July 2, 2019, after the case was withdrawn from Justice Olatoregun, following EFCC’s petition.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. In December 2021 EFCC had called its 11th witness, one Mrs Joanne Tolulope, who had narrated how Abiodun Agbele, an associate of Fayose, bought properties worth several millions. Trial will now continue on the next adjourned date.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that during trial before Justice 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 ₦1.2 billion, for purposes of funding his gubernatorial election campaign in Ekiti, which sum they reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.
The former Governor was alleged to have received a cash payment of the sum of five million dollars, (about ₦1.8 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 ₦300 million in his account and took control of the aggregate sums of about ₦622 million which sum he reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.