Saturday, October 31, 2020

Nigeria: EFCC re-arraigns ex-governor Fayose for alleged money laundering

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday re-arraigned former Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose for alleged money laundering.

His trial will, in effect, start de novo (afresh) before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court in Lagos.

The court granted Fayose’s application for permission to travel to South Africa for medical treatment.

The re-arraignment followed the re-assignment of the case to Justice Aneke after the EFCC said it no longer had confidence in Justice Mojisola Olatoregun, who was previously adjudicating on it.

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The case was re-assigned after 13 witnesses testified for the prosecution.

Fayose was arraigned last October 22 on an 11-count charge of receiving and keeping N1.2billion and $5million allegedly stolen from the Office of National Security Adviser (ONSA).

He was charged with his company, Spotless Limited.

He pleaded not guilty to the same charge and was allowed to remain on the bail granted him by Justice Olatoregun.

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The prosecution opened its case last November 19, but the Chief Judge, Justice Adamu Abdu-Kafarati, transferred the case following EFCC’s petition against Justice Olatoregun.

former Minister of State for Defence Senator Musiliu Obanikoro testified for the prosecution, stating that he collected N2.2billion from ONSA for Fayose.

Tuesday, prosecuting counsel Adebisi Adeniyi, who stood in for Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), did not oppose an application by defence counsel Ola Olanipekun (SAN) that Fayose be allowed to remain on bail.

Olanipekun also moved a motion seeking leave for Fayose to travel to South Africa for medical examination during the court’s long vacation scheduled to begin on Friday.

The prosecution also did not oppose the application.

Justice Aneke ruled: “I hereby grant the first defendant’s application for the temporary release of his international passport to enable him undertake a medical trip abroad.

“The first defendant shall return the international passport to the court on or before September 16.”

EFCC alleged that Fayose and an aide Abiodun Agbele took possession of N1.219billion from ONSA to fund his governorship campaign, knowing fund is proceed of “stealing”.

The commission said he received $5million from ONSA without going through a financial institution, contrary to the Money Laundering Act.

The prosecution said he placed N300million “proceed of stealing” in his fixed deposit account.

It was also alleged that he deposited N317million in the account of Spotless Investment Limited, a company he and his family own.

EFCC said Fayose lodged N305,760,000 in his account when he ought to know the money formed part of proceeds of an unlawful act.

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It added that the former governor procured De-Privateer Limited and Agbele to retain N719,490,000.00 in their accounts.

EFCC said he acquired a property on Plot 1504, Yedsema Street, Maitama, Abuja from Rabi Kundili with illicit N270million.

Fayose allegedly used N1,151,711,573 to acquire chalets 3 and 4, 6 and 9 on Plot 100 Tiamiyu Savage Street, Victoria Island, Lagos in the name of JJ Technical Service.

EFCC said he used N200million to acquire a property on 44, Osun Crescent, Maitama, Abuja in the name of his elder sister, Moji Oladeji.

It was further alleged that he used N270million to illegally acquire a property on Plot 1504 Yedseram Street, Maitama, Abuja in the name of Spotless Investment.

Fayose allegedly procured Still Earth Limited to retain N132.5million in its account for his benefit, EFCC said.
Fayose pleaded not guilty to all the counts.

Justice Aneke adjourned until September 16 to 19 and October 21 to 25 for trial.

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