N7 Billion Fraud: Fayose’s trial to continue in 2023, court rules

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The Lagos Division of the Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday adjourned the alleged money laundering trial of former Governor Ayo Fayose until January 31 and February 1.

The case was earlier scheduled for the continuation of trial on October 26 but could not proceed due to a mix-up in the date, while a new trial date was to be agreed on by the parties and fixed by the court.

Fayose is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over N6.9billion fraud and money laundering charges.

He was first arraigned on October 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 October 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The defendant was subsequently re-arraigned before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke on July 2, 2019, after the case was withdrawn from Ms Olatoregun following EFCC’s petition.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 Mr Aneke and is still leading witnesses in evidence.

In December 2021, EFCC called its 11th witness, Joanne Tolulope, who narrated how Abiodun Agbele, an associate of Fayose, bought properties worth several millions of naira.

The trial will now continue on January 31, 2023.

During the trial before Ms Olatoregun, the prosecution had called witnesses from several commercial banks and a former minister of state for defence, Musiliu Obanikoro.

The EFCC alleged that on June 17, 2014, Fayose and Mr Agbele were said to have taken possession of the sum of N1.2 billion.

The money was said to be to fund his gubernatorial election campaign in Ekiti, a sum they reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.

Mr Fayose was alleged to have received a cash payment of $5 million (about N1.8 billion) from Mr Obanikoro without going through any financial institution.

He was also alleged to have retained N300 million in his account and took control of the aggregate sums of about N622 million, which he reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.

Mr Fayose was accused of procuring De Privateer Ltd and Still Earth Ltd to retain the aggregate sum 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 sum of about N1.6 billion to acquire properties in Lagos and Abuja, which he reasonably ought to have known formed part of the crime proceeds.

He was also alleged to have used N200 million to acquire a property in Abuja in the name of his older sister Moji Oladeji.

The offence, the anti-graft agency 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. 

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