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EFCC presents more evidence in Fayose’s trial

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EFCC presents more evidence in Fayose’s trial

The trial of the embattled former Ekiti governor Ayodele Fayose resumed on Wednesday in a Federal High Court in Lagos and the prosecution provided further evidence.

The prosecution called their eleventh witness, Joanne Tolulope, who recounted how one Abiodun Agbele, a partner of Fayose, allegedly bought a property worth millions of naira.

Mr. Fayose is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for alleged fraud and money laundering of N6.9 billion.

He was tried for the first time on October 22, 2018, before Judge Mojisola Olatotegun.

The former governor was indicted along with his company, Spotless Investment Ltd., on 11 counts bordering on fraud and money laundering.

He had pleaded not guilty to the charge and was granted bail on October 24, 2018 in the amount of 50 million naira with bail in the same amount.

Fayose was tried again before Judge Chukwujekwu Aneke on July 2, 2019, after the case was withdrawn from Olatoregun, following EFCC’s petition.

He also pleaded not guilty to the charge and was allowed to continue on his previously granted bail, while the case was adjourned for trial.

During questioning of the witness on Wednesday by prosecutor Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, the witness told the court that Agbele purchased four charlets from her company Still Earth Ltd. between March and July 2015.

The witness, an in-house attorney for Still Earth Ltd., said the company dealt with real estate and also renovated properties.

She testified that at some point, from March to July 2015, Agbele contacted her company, via a phone call, to ask if there were properties available for sale.

“By the way, we had properties for sale; we discussed about the availability of Agbele for inspection.

“He came sometime in March 2015 to inspect the properties and requested two three- and four-bedroom charlets, respectively, and paid N575 million and some fractions for the property,” he said.

He said that in July 2015, Agbele approached the company and bought charlets for around 573 million naira.

“He also approached us to register the deed of assignment on behalf of JJ Technical Services,” he added.

However, Fayose’s lawyer, Ola Olanipekun (SAN), objected to an attempt by the prosecutor to present the deed of assignment as evidence.

Following the objection, the prosecutor tried to withdraw the document, saying that it could be presented later in the trial.

On how the money was paid, the witness told the court that De Privateer Ltd. deposited N800 million in a Still Earth Ltd. bank account, adding that there was a cash payment of N209 million for a Taofeek following Agbele’s instructions.

She testified that in January 2015, the sum of N105.7 million was received from Capital Field Investment and Trust Ltd., N39.5 million from Hoss Concept, while an additional N40 million was received from De Privateer Ltd.

He added that in February 2015, De Privateer Ltd. paid N200 million, while N132.5 million was paid by a company called Sam Chase.

The trial will continue on Thursday.

When the case was before Judge Olatoregun, the prosecution called witnesses from some commercial banks, as well as the former Minister of State for Defense, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro.

According to the EFCC, on June 17, 2014, Fayose and one Abiodun Agbele illegally took possession of N1.2 billion for the purpose of financing their election campaign for governor in Ekiti.

The commission said the defendants should have reasonably known that the sum was part of the proceeds of crime.

It alleged that Mr. Fayose received a cash payment of five million dollars (about 1.8 billion naira) from the then Minister of State for Defense, Obanikoro, without going through any financial institution.

The commission also said that the former governor illegally withheld 300 million in his bank account and took control of the total sums of around N622 million.

The EFCC added that the defendant illegally acquired De Privateer Ltd. and Still Earth Ltd. to withhold total sums of N851 million.

Furthermore, it was alleged that the former governor had illegally used total sums of around 1.6 billion naira to acquire property in Lagos and Abuja.

It was also alleged that he illegally used 200 million naira to acquire property in Abuja in the name of his older sister, Moji Oladeji.

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

YAYA

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