Alleged Money Laundering: Absence of Judge Stalls Fayose’s Trial

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The trial of a former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, was on Monday stalled before a Federal High Court Lagos.

This is because the court did not seat as the trial judge, Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke was said to be attending a conference.

The court registrar hinted that a new date would now be agreed on by the parties in due course.

Channels Television observed that most other courts did not sit and the same explanation was given that the judges were away for a conference.

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

He was first arraigned on Oct. 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 charge and was granted bail on Oct. 24, 2018, in the sum of N50 million with sureties in like sum.

The defendant, was, however, subsequently, re-arraigned before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke, on July 2, 2019, after the case was withdrawn from Justice Olatoregun, following a petition by the EFCC against the judge.

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 Justice Aneke and is still leading witnesses in evidence.

According to the charge, on June 17, 2014, Fayose and one Abiodun Agbele were said to have taken possession of the sum of N1.2 billion, for purposes of funding his gubernatorial election campaign in Ekiti, which sum they reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.

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Fayose was alleged to have received a cash payment of the sum of five million dollars, (about N1.8 billion) from the then Minister of State for Defence, Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro, without going through any financial institution.

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

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

He was also alleged to have used the sum of N200 million, to acquire a property in Abuja, in the name of his elder sister Moji Oladeji, which sum he ought to know also forms crime proceeds.

The offences contravene 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.

The defendant however pleaded not guilty to the charge.

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