LAGOS, Nigeria – Trial on the alleged N6.9 billion fraud against former Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, at the Federal High Court, Lagos, was on Thursday stalled following absence of the trial judge, Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the judge was said to be away attending a conference.
Fayose is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged money laundering involving N6.9 billion while serving as governor.
Also charged alongside Fayose, was Abiodun Agbele, the ex-governor’s aide accused of assisting his boss in carting away part of the missing funds.
He was first arraigned on Oct. 22, 2018, before Justice Mojisola Olatotegun alongside his company, Spotless Investment Ltd, on an 11-count charge.
He had pleaded not guilty to the charges and was granted bail on Oct. 24, 2018 in the sum of N50 million with two sureties in like sum.
The defendant was subsequently re-arraigned before Justice Aneke on July 2, after the case was withdrawn from Justice Olatoregun, following EFCC’s petition on unsatisfactory handling of the case.
Fayose also pleaded not guilty to the charges and was allowed to enjoy his bail while the case was adjourned until Nov. 28 for trial.
The trial however, could not progress as slated as the court did not sit and a new date has yet to be fixed for the trial.
At the last three adjournments, EFCC had called Lawrence Akande, Abiodun Oshode and Johnson Abidakun to testify as prosecution witnesses.
NAN recalls that while Akande and Oshode had concluded their testimonies and were discharged by the court, the third witness, Abidakun had yet to complete giving evidence.
In the charge sheet, Fayose and Agbele were said to have taken possession of N1.2 billion on June 17, 2014 for purposes of funding his gubernatorial election campaign in Ekiti, an amount which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.
Fayose was also alleged to have received a cash payment of five million dollars, (about N1.8 billion) from Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro, a former Minister of Defence without due process.
The former governor was also accused of illegally retaining N300 million and taken control of the aggregate sum of N622 million without due process.
Fayose was alleged to have procured De Privateer Ltd and Still Earth Ltd, to retain the aggregate sums of N851 million.
The EFCC also accused him of having used the aggregate sums of about N1.6 billion to acquire properties in Lagos and Abuja.
The main defendant (Fayose) was also alleged to have used N200 million to acquire a property in Abuja in the name of his elder sister, Moji Oladeji.
The anti-graft body said the offences contravened sections 15(1), 15 (2), 15 (3), 16(2)(b), 16 (d), and 18 (c) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011.