Judge’s absence stalls Fayose’s trial

The alleged money laundering trial of a former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, could not proceed on Thursday before the Federal High Court in Lagos, as the court did not sit.
The trial Judge, Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke, was said to be on an official assignment.
The case has been adjourned until July 1 for the continuation of trial.
Fayose is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for 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 charges and was granted bail on Oct. 24, 2018, in the sum of N50 million with sureties in like sum.
The defendant was re-arraigned before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke on July 2, 2019, after the case was withdrawn from Justice Olatoregun, following the EFCC’s petition.
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.
Trial will now continue on the next adjourned date.
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 they reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.
Fayose was alleged to have received a cash payment of $5m 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 sum of about N622 million which he reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.
He was further alleged to have procured De Privateer Ltd. and Still Earth Ltd., to retain the aggregate sum 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 sum of about N1.6 billion to acquire properties in Lagos and Abuja, which 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 contravenes 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.

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