The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, on Thursday, re-arraigned a former governor of Ekiti State, Mr Ayodele Fayose, and his company, Spotless Limited, before a Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos State.
Fayose and his company were re-arraigned before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke on 11 counts bordering on money laundering and non-declaration of assets.
The amended charge, dated November 24, 2021, was filed by the EFCC on November 25, 2021.
In the amended charge, Fayose and one Abiodun Agbele, who is also standing trial for money laundering offences before another division of the court, were alleged to have on June 17, 2014, taken possession of N1.219bn to fund the former’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 June 17, 2014, without going through financial institutions, received the sum of $5m from Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, who was then the Minister of State for Defence.
The EFCC also accused Fayose of retaining the sum of N300m in his fixed deposit account number 9013074033 domiciled in Zenith Bank Plc.
The former governor and Spotless Limited were also alleged to have between June 17 and August 4, 2014, taken control of the sum of N317m and deposited the same in Zenith Bank Plc account number 1010170969.
The EFCC further accused Fayose of spending the sum of N270m and N1.1bn to acquire properties on Plot 1504 Yedsema Street, Maitama, Abuja, from one Rabi Kundili, and chalets 3, 4, 6 and 9 on Plot 100 Tiyamiyu Savage Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, in the name of JJ Technical Services.
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.
According to the EFCC, the offences 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.
Fayose denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty to all the 11 counts after which the suspects were allowed to continue with the previously granted bail terms.
Prior to his re-arraignment, Mrs Joanne Tolulope, one of the 11 witnesses being called by the EFCC, while being cross-examined by Fayose’s counsel, Ola Olanipekun (SAN), affirmed that her company, Still Earth Limited, only dealt with Agbele, an associate of the ex-governor.
When asked if she was involved in the preparation of the Deed of Assignment in respect of the properties leading to the charge, she said her company engaged the service of an external lawyer, one Kolawole.
When probed by Mr Olalekan Ojo (SAN), counsel for Fayose’s company, Spotless Limited, if all parties in the transaction leading to the trial were fictitious, the witness said she could only vouch for her company, Still Earth Limited, which dealt with Agbele.
After the cross-examination, the EFCC’s counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), informed the court that a newly amended charge had been filed and sought the court’s permission to re-arraign Fayose.
Fayose and his company were subsequently re-arraigned on 11 counts bordering on money laundering and non-declaration of assets.
Fayose’s trial continues today (Friday) before Justice Aneke as the EFCC will be calling 12 witnesses to testify against him.
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