The trial of the former Governor of Ekiti State, Mr Ayodele Fayose, over allegations of fraud to the tune of N2.2billion, stalled at the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Tuesday after a witness failed to show up.
Counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) told the court that he was “having difficulties bringing his witnesses to court because of happenings in the EFCC”.
Mr Jacobs who was expected to call his 8th prosecution witness, therefore, asked the court to grant an adjournment.
On Monday, the EFCC Counsel had called his 7th witness, Adedamola Otuyalo, to testify. Following the conclusion of Otuyalo’s testimony early Tuesday morning, the trial came to an abrupt end as there were no further witnesses in court, prompting the prosecution counsel to make the request for the adjournment.
Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke granted the adjournment and fixed the continuation of trial for October 19 and 20.
The EFCC recently witnessed a change in leadership after its acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, was arrested and whisked to the presidential villa in Abuja, where he appeared before a presidential panel, set up to probe the EFCC under him.
He was also suspended from office alongside 12 other senior officials of the EFCC including the Commission’s Secretary, Ola Olukoyede.
Magu is accused of abuse of office and mismanagement of recovered assets, allegations made against him by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN) and which necessitated the probe.
Fayose, alongside Spotless Investment Limited, is facing 11 counts bordering on criminal breach of trust, theft and money laundering.
In the charge, the EFCC alleged, among other things, that Fayose, on June 17, 2014, “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.”
The former governor was also alleged to have on the same day “received a cash payment of $5,000,000 from Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, the then Minister of State for Defence, which sum exceeded the amount authorised by law and you thereby 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 and Spotless Investment Limited pleaded not guilty.