Judiciary

EFCC re-arraigns Fayose on amended money laundering charge

Former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose

The Economic and FinancialCrimesCommission (EFCC) on Thursday re-arraigned Ayodele Fayose, a former governor of Ekiti State, and his firm, Spotless Limited, before the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court for alleged fraud.

The former governor was brought before a judge, Chukwujekwu Aneke, on an amended 11-count money laundering charge.

The amended charge, dated November 24, 2021, was filed by the EFCC on November 25, 2021.

Mr Fayose’s trial had continued on Wednesday with the EFCC’s 11th witness being cross-examined by Mr Fayose’s counsel, Ola Olanipekun (SAN).

But on Thursday, the EFCC counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), informed the court the anti-graft agency had filed a new, amended charge before the defendants and sought the court’s permission to re-arraign them.

Subsequently, Mr Fayose and his company were re-arraigned.

They pleaded not guilty and were permitted to continue on the earlier bail terms granted them.

Mr Aneke adjourned till Friday for continuation of trial, and for the EFCC to call its 12th witness.

In the amended charge, Mr Fayose and one Abiodun Agbele, who is also standing trial on alleged money laundering offences before another division of the court, were alleged to have on June 17, 2014, taken possession of N1.219 billion to fund Mr Fayose’s 2014 gubernatorial campaign in Ekiti State.

They were accused of committing criminal breach of trust, theft and stealing of public funds.

They were also alleged to have on the same June 17, 2014, without going through financial institutions, received the sum of $5million from Musiliu Obanikoro, who was the then Minister of State for Defence.

The EFCC alleged that Mr Fayose on April 7, 2015, retained the sum of N300 million, in his fixed deposit account number 9013074033, domiciled in Zenith Bank Plc.

Mr Fayose and his company, Spotless Limited, were also alleged to have between June 17 and August 4, 2014, taken control of the sum of N317 million, and deposited same in a Zenith Bank Plc account number 1010170969.

The former governor was also alleged to have between June 26 and August 27, 2014, taken control of the sum of N305,760million, which formed part of proceeds of an unlawful act, and in his Zenith Bank account number 1003126654.

He was also accused of procuring Agbele and a company, De-privateer Limited, to retain the sum of N719.490 million in a Zenith Bank account number 1013835889.

The EFCC further accused Mr Fayose of using the sum of N270 million and N1.151,711,573 billion respectively, to acquire properties at Plot 1504, Yedsema Street, Maitama, Abuja from one Rabi Kundili, and Chalets 3, 4, 6 and 9, at Plot 100, Tiamiyu Savage Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, in the name of JJ Technical Services.

Mr Fayose was also alleged to have between October 16 and December 31, 2018, failed to declare his assets and properties, by not completing the declaration form during investigation.

The offences, according to the EFCC, are contrary to sections 15(2)(d); 1 and 16 (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended, and punishable under section 15(3)(4); 16(2)(b) of the same Act.

He was also alleged to have acted contrary to section 27(1)(3)(c) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2004. (PREMIUM TIMES)

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