Alleged Money Laundering: Bank Official Testifies In Fayose’s Case

 

The trial of the former governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, continued today with the testimony of a Zenith Bank official, Dr Abiodun Oshode, who told the court how the bank took a bullion van to the Akure airport in 2014 to evacuate a cash sum of N1.219bn from an aircraft.

The witness told trial judge, Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke, that the request for the service was made by Abiodun Agbele, an aide to the former governor, Ayo Fayose.

The witness also testified that a former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, was present during the operation at the airport.

Oshode said after taking the N1.219bn cash to the bank, Agbele supplied three bank accounts into which the monies were to be lodged.

He listed the three accounts as those of Privateer Nigeria Limited; Spotless Investment Limited and a personal account of the former governor.

The witness also listed “Ayodele Fayose and Mrs Olayemi Fayose” as the signatories to the account of Spotless Investment Limited.

Under cross-examination, the witness admitted that though there was nothing inappropriate about the transaction, the bank reported the N1.219bn cash lodgment to the authorities in line with the standard practice that banks must report cash transactions above N1m for an individual and N5m for a corporate body.

The banker also admitted that there was no time that the former governor filled any teller dealing with the money.

Subsequently, Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke, adjourned further proceedings till Wednesday, October 23.

The former governor was first arraigned on October 22, 2018, before Justice Mojisola Olatotegun, alongside a company, Spotless Investment Ltd, on 11 counts bordering on fraud and money laundering offences.

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges and Fayose was then granted bail on October 24, 2018, in the sum of N50 million with sureties in like sum.

Thereafter, the EFCC opened its trial on November 19, 2018, and called 13 out of its listed witnesses.

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, said to have formed part of proceeds of crime, for the purposes of funding his gubernatorial election campaign in Ekiti.

Fayose was also 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”.

The former governor was also alleged to have “procured De Privateer Ltd and Still Earth Ltd, to retain the aggregate sums of N851 million which they ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds”.

Beyond that, he was alleged to have used the aggregate sums of about N1.6 billion “to acquire properties in Lagos and Abuja, which he 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 he ought to know also forms crime proceeds”.

All 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.

Alleged Money Laundering: First Witness Testifies As Fayose’s Trial Resumes

 

About three months after his re-arraignment, the trial of the former governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, has resumed at the Federal High Court, Lagos with the testimony of the first prosecution witness.

Fayose is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged money laundering.

The first witness, Mr Lawrence Akande, a Banker with Zenith Bank Plc, had initially testified before former trial judge, Justice Mojisola Olatoregun.

But following a petition written by the EFCC alleging bias against the judge, the matter was re-assigned to Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke with the implication being that all the witnesses who had testified before the previous judge would have to testify afresh.

13 witnesses listed by the anti-graft agency had initially testified before the previous judge.

They included officials from several commercial banks, as well as a former Minister of State for Defence, Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro.

In his testimony before Justice Aneke today, the first witness, Mr Lawrence told the court that as “a person of high network”, his bank sought patronage from Mr Fayose.

He admitted that Mr Fayose maintained three accounts with the bank namely Spotless Investment, De Privateer, and a personal account domiciled in Lagos.

The witness also mentioned that sometime in June 2014, he received a call from Mr Fayose informing him that there will be a business transaction in Akure which he passed on to the Akure Zonal Head of the branch to handle.

The banker then denied direct knowledge of the transaction including lodgements, payments or deposits.

After listening to the testimony, Justice Aneke then adjourned the trial till Tuesday, October 22.

Alleged $5m Money Laundering: Obanikoro Ends Testimony, EFCC Calls 6th Witness

You’ll Be ‘Sent To Jail’ If You Don’t Appear, Judge Warns Obanikoro
A file photo of Senator Musuliu Obanikoro

 

24 hours after admitting in evidence the statement of the late Justin Erukaa, the Personal Assistant to Sen Musiliu Obanikoro, a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has heard the testimony of the former Minister of State for Defence, on how Erukaa died.

Senator Obanikoro said: “Erukaa left Lagos a day before Sallah about two years ago, and the police called one of my Special Assistants that the owner of the phone just had a motor accident and died on the spot and he immediately called me and informed me.”

Obanikoro also said that he and his family attended the burial of the late Erukaa.

In an earlier testimony before the court, Obanikoro had said that he sent Erukaa on errands, including an errand to collect over $1million and that Erukaa came to meet him in Ekiti.

Read Also: Alleged $5m Money Laundering: Court Admits Statements Of Late Aide To Obanikoro

The court had admitted in evidence the statement made by the late Erukaa before his death.

The monies in issue in the case were said to have originated from the Office of the former National Security Adviser (ONSA) for the purpose of prosecuting the Ekiti State Elections.

Obanikoro, however, reiterated his earlier testimony that he was not privy to any discussion between Former Governor Ayodele Fayose and the former NSA.

Mr Fayose alongside a company, Spotless Investment Ltd is on trial for allegedly receiving and keeping N1.2billion and $5million allegedly stolen from the Office of National Security Adviser (ONSA) contrary to the Money Laundering Act.

He had, however, pleaded not guilty when he was arraigned on 11 counts in October 22, 2018.

In November 2018, the EFCC opened the case for the prosecution and subsequently called four witnesses.

In January 2018, the EFCC called Obanikoro as its fifth witness.

After his cross-examination ended today (Tuesday), Obanikoro stepped down from the witness box and subsequently the EFCC called its 6th witness, a banker, Mr Olugboyega Falae.

The EFCC had alleged that Fayose acquired a N200m property in Maitama, Abuja in the name of his elder sister, Moji Oladeji.

Falae, who works with Ecobank Nigeria, said he was a staff of Skye Bank (now Polaris Bank) when the transaction occurred.

The court admitted in evidence some of the documents involved in that transaction before adjourning until Wednesday (tomorrow) for continuation of the trial.

I Will Be President Of Nigeria, Fayose Insists

I Will Be President Of Nigeria, Fayose Insists
File photo

 

Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayo Fayose, has once again said he will become the President when Nigerians select a new leader for another four years in 2019.

He said this on Thursday in Ado Ekiti, the state capital while addressing hundreds of women at an event to commemorate the 2018 International Women’s Day.

READ ALSO: I Will Defeat President Buhari In Free And Fair Election – Fayose

“I want them to here in the Villa, I will be president of Nigeria Tomorrow, Fayose told his supporters at the gathering.

“Sometimes, it is difficult for people to believe but when it happens, I want you to know that I’ve said so before.”

Ahead of the forthcoming general elections, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had in 2017 zoned its Presidency to the North and its national chairmanship to the South, a position being held by Prince Uche Secondus.

While it seems that Governor Fayose’s interest to run for Presidency might be against the party’s arrangement, he informed the PDP leaders in a letter last year that his ambition was without prejudice to the party’s position but in the overall interest of the party and the country.

Delivering a speech while formally declaring his presidential ambition on September 28, 2017, in Abuja, he said had“I am confident with your support as my party leaders and supporters, I will defeat the incumbent President, Muhammadu Buhari, in a free and fair election. Nobody like me can take out the President from his office – twice I defeated the incumbents to become governor of Ekiti State.”

 

A Better Change

In furtherance of his show of confidence, the governor told his supporters today in Ado Ekiti that he would not be silenced by any form of pressure or intimidation from anyone or group.

I’m Going Straight To Villa, I’m The Next President – Fayose

He took a swipe at the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), alleging that they have failed to fulfill the promises made to Nigerians in the buildup to the 2015 elections.

“All I said about this present APC government; they are leaving and they have stood the test of time,” said Fayose. “For me, greater is he that is in me than he that is there, and in the world.”

“I have fought so many battles, my enemies and opponents have lost all, I’ve won all; I’ve not lost one. We will not allow anybody to cow us; there is one thing I want to remind them, power belongs to God – you are there today, we will be there tomorrow.

“Nigerians want a change, a better change, a change that is not selective; Ekiti, well-represented by Ayo Fayose will be part and parcel of the government at the centre in 2019 by the grace of God,” he added.

Governor Foyese congratulated the women in the state and assured them of the state government’s support to help improve their standard of living.

He noted that although it would be his last participation in the celebration as a governor, he would come from Abuja to attend the event as a president next year.

The event was attended by the governor’s wife, Mrs Feyisetan Fayose; his deputy, Professor Kolapo Olusola; and rights activist Joe Odumakin among others.

Ekiti Govt Calls For Calm As Monkeypox Hits State

Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has asked residents of the state not to panic over the outbreak of monkeypox, saying efforts are on to prevent the disease from further spread.

The governor said this in Ado Ekiti on Tuesday while reacting to the two suspected cases of monkeypox in Okemesi Ekiti in Ekiti west local government area of the state.

Read Also: Facts About Monkey Pox Disease

Monkeypox epidemic was first recorded in Bayelsa with three other suspected cases in Rivers State and one other confirmed case in Akwa Ibom.

Boko Haram Is Not Defeated – Fayose

Fayose Underscores Benefits Of Quality Education
File Photo: Ayodele Fayose

The Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose has debunked the claim of the Federal Government that it has defeated Boko Haram.

“Boko Haram is not defeated. It has not even been degraded”, Fayose asserted in a press statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Idowu Adelusi.

“The brutal killings by Boko Haram all over the place gives the lie to the APC-led Federal Government’s assertion that it has won the battle against insurgency.

“The battle is not over yet. In fact, it is raging fiercer than ever before. The gory killing of the oil workers confirms this. The wanton destruction of lives and property all over the place by Boko Haram also testifies to this fact.

“Like the ostrich, this government is trying hard to cover what cannot be covered. Boko Haram ambushes and kills soldiers at will.

“Gallant officers and men continue to fall in battle to the superior fire-power and higher morale of the insurgents.

“Boko Haram invades and sacks communities at will, carting away human beings and other resources.

“The insurgents throw bombs with reckless abandon. Is this the evidence of a degraded or defeated Boko Haram?

Gov. Fayose said it was a matter for regret that corruption in the military, under the very nose of a government which claims to be fighting corruption, “has degraded the military and defeated our gallant soldiers that they are no longer able to stand before Boko Haram, not to talk of defeating the insurgents.

“Transparency International’s revelation that the military inflate military contracts to siphon money meant for the war efforts explains why the insurgents are waxing stronger and remain undefeatable.

“The war against insurgency has become a conduit for the siphoning of the resources of this country. Boko Haram is now the pot of soup or “amnesty” largesse of the APC government.”

Governor Fayose also decried what he described as the unbridled corruption of members of the ruling party, which the government is sweeping under the carpet.

“They keep pulling the wool over the eyes of the gullible with their lip-service commitment to the war against corruption and insurgency. But come 2019, they will know that the people are not deceived”, he added.

Fayose Asks President Buhari To Resign

The Governor of Ekiti State and Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors Forum, Mr Ayodele Fayose says the All Progressives Congress leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari has performed below expectation.

The governor at a press conference which held on Tuesday in Lagos explained that the handling of the economy by the Buhari government is unacceptable and therefore asked that the President resigns.

“Two years of Buhari’s change agenda or Buhari’s Presidency is what I describe as a misadventure for Nigerians – recession, downturn and economic shrinkage, resulting in a badly devalued currency, the Naira.

“We went as far as 500 and something but thank God it is getting better. Nigeria is in the worst-ever debt profile; our debt profile is second to none – we borrow on daily basis. To worsen matters, they take this money from source against the Supreme Court judgement that says all money must accrue to the federation consolidated account to be shared by all tiers of government. There is no way you can be taking bonds without committing the money from source abroad.

“This is regrettable as the Federal Government continues to cheat on the states and the local government. I have gone to court in this respect and I have asked them to make public the documents for which they have used to borrow money or which they are still using to borrow money.

“While praying for our president to recover very quickly, why is he finding it difficult to be morally upright and resign, knowing the hardship his redundancy is causing the economy and the masses,” Fayose questioned.

EFCC Appeals Unfreezing Of Ozekhome’s Account

EFCC Appeals Unfreezing Of Ozekhome's AccountThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has filed an appeal against the court ruling that unfroze the Guaranty Trust Bank account of a senior lawyer, Mr Mike Ozekhome, which contained 75 million Naira paid to him by Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose.

In his ruling on Monday, Justice Abdulaziz Anka held that though it was not in doubt that the 75 million Naira came from Governor Fayose, Mr Ozekhome could not be held liable because there was no restriction on the Governor’s account at the time the money was paid to his law firm.

Justice Anka added that the freezing order earlier obtained by the EFCC in respect of Fayose’s accounts had been lifted by Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court in Ado-Ekiti.

At the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal on Tuesday, the anti-graft agency, however, alleged a miscarriage of justice and premised its appeal on three grounds.

One of the grounds was that “the learned trial judge erred in law when he set aside his own order of interim attachment before the expiration of 120 days granted to the EFCC to conclude its investigation”.

The Commission argued that at the point of granting its ex-parte application, the trial judge directed the Manager of Guaranty Trust Bank Plc., to attach the Statement of Account of the senior lawyer’s chamber with the bank for a period of 120 days, pending the determination of investigation and possible prosecution.

The EFCC said it was, however, dismayed that before the expiration of the 120 days, and while investigation was ongoing, the interim order of forfeiture was vacated by Justice Anka.

Court Unfreezes Ozekhome’s Account

Arik Air Takeover: Court Fixes May 15 For RulingThe Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has lifted the order freezing the Guarantee Trust Bank (GTB) account of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Mike Ozekhome, into which the Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose, allegedly paid him legal fees of 75 million Naira.

Justice Abdul Aziz Anka in his ruling held that though it was not in doubt that the 75 million Naira came from Gov Fayose, Mr Ozekhome could not be held liable because there was no restriction on Governor Fayose’s account at the time the money was paid to his law firm.

Justice Anka also noted that the freezing order earlier obtained by the EFCC in respect of Fayose’s accounts had been lifted by Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court in Ado-Ekiti.

He said he would not allow himself to be lured into sitting as an appellate judge over the counter-decisions of Justice Mohammed Idris, who initially froze Fayose’s accounts and Justice Taiwo who later reversed the order.

Court Orders Immediate De-freezing of Governor Fayose’s Accounts

Court Orders Immediate De-freezing of Governor Fayose's AccountsA Federal High court sitting in Ado Ekiti on Tuesday ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to lift the restriction placed on some accounts belonging to Governor Ayodele Fayose in Zenith Bank.

The court also set aside an earlier order of a Federal High court, Lagos empowering the EFCC to freeze two accounts domiciled in the new generation bank.

The court has consequently ordered the EFCC to immediately defreeze the two accounts belonging to the governor without further delay, on the account that the anti-graft agency did not follow due process in confiscating them.

Delivering his judgement, the presiding Judge, Justice Taiwo Taiwo, said the rights of the governor had been unconstitutionally infringed upon, considering the circumstance of his office.

Justice Taiwo declared that apart from the immunity which Mr Fayose currently enjoyed as a sitting governor under section 308 of the constitution, it was wrong for the EFCC to have gone ahead to seize his two accounts in apparent perpetuity without first investigating him or making him a party.

He averred that rather than the EFCC freezing the governor’s accounts directly through the third party who did not enjoy any mandate from him, the governor himself ought to have been first investigated and brought into the picture.

The judge described Fayose as “a genuinely deprived person who rushed to the court to seek constitutional protection”.

The judge thereby gave a mandatory order the de-freezing, unblocking and making operational the two accounts by the respondents.

He said it was also the duty of any presiding judge to protect the said constitution and its interpretations whenever the need arises.

“The Plaintiff is entitled to be heard before his property or money can be seized, doing otherwise will amount to denying him fair hearing and constitutional rights”, he said.

The judge however refused to grant other relief sought by the governor, including a perpetual injunction restraining EFCC or its agents from further tampering with his property, and another one asking for payment of N5billion as exemplary damages.

“This court will not shield any person from due investigation and since Police cannot be stopped from investigating a crime, same goes for the First Respondent so as not to whittle down its functions”, the judge said.

EFCC lead counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo was absent at the court but Fayose’s lead counsel, Ozekhome, in his reaction described the judgment as the best to be so made the EFCC in history, saying it would checkmate the agency against years of brazen arbitrariness and excesses.

The EFCC had on June 21, 2016 confiscated the two accounts having allegedly contained a sum of N2.99billion out of the N2.3 billion arms money allegedly drawn by the governor from the office of the former National Security Adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki to prosecute his governorship election in 2014.

Fayose through his lawyer, Mr Mike Ozekhome approached the court and sought for the enforcement of his fundamental rights, which involved the de-freezing of the two accounts.

I Won’t Join APC For Ekiti 2018 Poll, Fayose Insists

I Won't Join APC For Ekiti 2018 Poll, Fayose InsistsEkiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose, has vowed that under no circumstance would he join the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Although he said earlier in the week that he was yet to be clear about the platform he would use to fight the 2018 succession battle in the state, Fayose said he remains constant and unshaken with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the platform he used to win the governorship polls twice.

The Governor had on Wednesday in Ikere Ekiti, at a meeting with the members of the Suppliers’ Association of Nigeria, Ikere chapter, said that he may not use PDP platform to present candidate for the 2018 poll.

Fayose’s comment might be informed by the polarization of the party into the Ahmed Makarfi and Ali Modu Sheriff factions, which led to the failure of the party’s candidate, Eyitayo Jegede in the just concluded governorship poll in Ondo State.

But speaking at the palace of Ewi of Ado Ekiti, Oba Rufus Adejugbe while being conferred with the honour of ‘Outstanding Achiever of Our Time’ by Ado Progressive Union, he said he will never dump the PDP for APC under any guise.

“I will never dump PDP for APC. I remain strong and unshaken for the PDP. I can’t jump the boat, even if I want to jump, I won’t jump into the red sea.

“Why should I leave the PDP and join a party of hunger like APC? Ekiti is different from Ondo. By the grace of God, there will be a repeat of history here in 2018, I shall repeat the 16-0 that I gave them in 2014.

“I operate like the biblical Elisha because those with us are greater than theirs. The God of Israel that conquered Philistines shall be on our side.”

Popular Fayose Market In Ekiti State Remains Closed

Popular Fayose Market In Ekiti State Remains ClosedThe popular Fayose market in Ado Ekiti, the state capital has been closed following the order of the State Governor, Ayodele Fayose for not complying with the rules and regulations of the market.

Channels TV correspondent reports that the market has been under lock and key for the past few weeks and this has not been the best of time for the traders, considering the season and as the yuletide approaches.

The Commissioner for Information, Lanre Ogunsuyi, has explained that “the market was closed due to the attack on the enforcement officers of the state government, (and) for now the market remains closed until the traders learn their lessons”.

The Governor has also explained that the market was closed “for not complying with the laws and order rules guiding the market”.

He said that traders should see themselves as brothers and respect the state government order.

Traders in the market have been warned in the past to stop obstructing access roads and walkways with their goods.

Efforts have been made by the traders to appeal to Governor Fayose for an amicable resolution of the matter but the efforts have not yielded the desired result.

For now, traders remain on the streets hoping that the market would be opened as soon as possible.