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N2.2bn Fraud: Court Remands Fayose in EFCC Custody

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LAGOS, NIGERIA (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has remanded the immediate past Governor of Ekiti State Mr. Ayodele Fayose in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged N2.2bn fraud.

Justice Mojisola Olatoregun while granting on Monday the prayer by a former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Kanu Agabi’s prayer, on behalf of Fayose ordered that the first suspect be remanded in the EFCC custody and adjourned hearing of the bail application till Wednesday, October 24, 2018.

In its suit, the EFCC listed 22 witnesses that will testify against Fayose in the course of the trial proper.

Among them are a former Minister of State for Defence Mr. Musiliu Obanikoro and a former Group Managing Director of Diamond Bank Plc, Mr Alex Otti.

Otti is expected to explain to the court how sometime in 2014, Obanikoro approached him in his Lagos office, informing him that he expected the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to pay certain sums of money into the Diamond Bank account of a firm – Sylvan Mcmanara Ltd as well as needed the money or most of it transferred to Ekiti.

Also, he is expected to tell the court how the same Bank offered to transfer the money electronically but Obanikoro insisted that he wanted the money delivered in cash in Ekiti.

Following this, Mr. Otti will explain how the Bank then proposed a service charge of five per cent, which Obanikoro rejected and rather opted to fly the money by himself to Ekiti in 2014 before the Governorship election that ushered him in then as Governor. .

Fayose’s tenure elapsed midnight last week Monday, October 15, 2018. He submitted himself the following day – October 16, which was the day of inauguration of his successor, Dr John Kayode Fayemi.

Fayose was taken to court from the custody of the EFCC where he had been detained for questioning after he voluntarily submitted himself last Tuesday.

The former Governor was accompanied to court by his ally, a former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode.

The PDP Chieftain is also being prosecuted by the EFCC over alleged N4.9bn.

“I am here to let people know that he (Fayose) is not alone. I know what he’s going through because I’ve been there,” Fani-Kayode told journalists in the court premises Monday in Lagos.

When called into the dock and the charges against were read, Fayose pleaded not guilty on behalf of himself and his firm, Spotless Limited, to the 11 charges bordering on criminal breach of trust, theft and money laundering, using his private firm alongside – Spotless Limited.

In the charges, the EFCC alleged that on June 17, 2014, Fayose “took possession of the sum of N1, 219, 000,000 to fund your 2014 gubernatorial campaign in Ekiti State, which you reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act, to wit: criminal breach of trust/stealing.”

He was also alleged to have on the same day received a cash payment of $5,000,000 from Obanikoro, which sum exceeded the amount authorized by law.

The anti-graft body argued that by this, the former Governor has committed an offence contrary to Sections 1 and 16(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 16 (2)(b) of the same Act.”

Fayose in another count, was accused of “using an aggregate sum of N1,151,711,573 to acquire chalets 3 and 4; and 5 and 9 of the property situate at Plot 100 Tiamiyu Savage Street, Victoria Island, Lagos in the name of JJ Technical Service.”Hewas He He was equally accused of purchasing a property at Plot 1504, Yedsema Street, Maitama, Abuja for N270m from one Rabi Kundili.

EFCC further accused Fayose of receiving gratification from a firm, Samchase Nigeria Limited.

After pleading not guilty to the charges, the prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), prayed for a trial date and an order remanding Fayose in the prison custody.

Faayose’s Counsel Chief Agabi SAN, told Justice Olatoregun that while he agreed with a trial date, he was opposed to the prayer that his client should be remanded in the prison custody.

Agabi argued that he had already filed a bail application for the accused (Fayose) and prayed the judge to allow him to return to the custody of the EFCC pending the hearing and determination of the bail application.

Justice granted the prayer and fixed hearing of bail application to Wednesday, October 24, 2018.

Ironically, one of the prime witnesses, Obanikoro is said to have traveled last weekend to US for medical treatment.



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