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Court orders witness’ presence for cross examination in Fayose’s trial



A Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday, fixed March 22, for the prosecution to present its witness in court in continuation of the money laundering trial of a former Governor of Ekiti state, Ayodele Fayose.

The trial Judge, Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke, told the prosecutor for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), to inform the witness that the court had ordered his presence in court on March 22.

Fayose is being prosecuted by the EFCC alongside a company, Spotless Investment Ltd., on 11 counts bordering on N6.9 billion alleged fraud and money laundering offences.

When the case was called on Friday, Jacobs appeared for the EFCC, while Messrs Ola Olanipekun (SAN), and Olalekan Ojo (SAN), respectively appeared for the first and second defendants.

Jacobs told the court that his 13th witness, Mr Aliyu Madaki, who is to be cross examined by defence, was held up in Jos and unable to attend court.

He also told the court that the witness was no longer an employee of the EFCC.

Jacobs said the witness now resides in Nasarawa.

The prosecution informed the court that the witness had pleaded for another chance to be present on March 28, an already existing date given by the court.

Jacobs, however, said he had just discovered that the court would be on Easter vacation by then, and he consequently, prayed for a further date.

Meanwhile, the second defence counsel, Ojo, expressed displeasure at the absence of the witness, on the grounds that it showed great disrespect to the court.

Ojo insisted that whatever issues preventing the witness from attending court did not happen today and so the prosecutor could not have kept silent till today before informing the counsel.

In support of this position, the first defence counsel, Olanipekun, also expressed dissatisfaction on the grounds that the prosecutor ought to treat the matter with the importance it deserved and informed the counsel earlier.

Although the prosecutor insisted that a date in March would not be sufficient for him to ensure attendance of the witness, the judge told the prosecutor to inform the witness that it is an order from the court.

Consequently, the court fixed March 22 for cross examination, and ordered the prosecutor to produce his witness on that date.

The court also fixed further dates of April 25 and April 26 for continuation of trial.

Fayose is being prosecuted by the EFCC for alleged N6.9 billion fraud and money laundering.

He was first arraigned on Oct. 22. 2018, before Justice Mojisola Olatotegun.

He was arraigned alongside his company, Spotless Investment Ltd., on 11 counts bordering on fraud and money laundering.

Fayose, however, 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 defendants were, however, re-arraigned before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke on July 2, 2019, after the case was withdrawn from Olatoregun following a petition by the EFCC.

Fayose equally pleaded not guilty before Aneke, who allowed him to continue on the bail granted him by Olatoregun.
The EFCC has since opened its case before Aneke and is leading witnesses in evidence.

According to the commission, on June 17, 2014, Fayose and one Abiodun Agbele took possession of N1.2 billion for the purpose of funding his gubernatorial election campaign in Ekiti.

The commission alleged that the sum formed part of crime proceeds.

Fayose is also alleged to have received a cash payment of five million dollars from the then Minister of State for Defence, Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro, without going through any financial institution.

The EFCC also alleged that the former governor retained N300 million in his bank account and took control of the aggregate sums of about N622 million which formed part of crime proceeds.

It added that Fayose procured De Privateer Ltd. and Still Earth Ltd. to retain aggregate sums of N851 million which formed part of crime proceeds.

The commission also accused Fayose of using about N1.6 billion crime proceeds to acquire property in Lagos and Abuja.

The former governor also allegedly used N200 million crime proceeds to acquire a property in Abuja in the name of his elder sister, Moji Oladeji.

The alleged offences contravene Sections 15(1), 15 (2), 15 (3), 16(2)(b), 16 (d) and 18 (c) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011.

Sandra Umeh

NEWSVERGE, published by The Verge Communications is an online community of international news portal and social advocates dedicated to bringing you commentaries, features, news reports from a Nigerian-African perspective. A unique organization, founded in the spirit of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, comprising of ordinary people with an overriding commitment to seeking the truth and publishing it without fear or favour. The Verge Communications is fully registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as a corporate organization.



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