Alleged N6.9bn fraud: Court adjourns Fayose’s trial till May
On Tuesday, the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, adjourned the trial of former Ekiti State governor Ayodele Fayose and his company, Spotless Investment Limited, for an alleged N6.9 billion fraud until May 8, 2023.
Justice Chukujekwu Aneke adjourned the trial after hearing the testimony of Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, a former minister of state for defence and the twelfth prosecution witness.
The EFCC’s Director of Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, revealed this in a statement obtained by our correspondent on Tuesday evening.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s Lagos Zonal Command re-arraigned Fayose and Spotless Investment Limited on an 11-count charge bordering money laundering and theft to the tune of N6.9billion on Tuesday, July 2, 2019.
The defendants were initially arraigned before Justice Mojisola Olatoregun on October 22, 2018.
Uwujaren noted that on the resumption of court proceedings on Tuesday, the 12th prosecution witness, Musiliu Obanikoro, told the court that he lacked proof that he withdrew the N1.2 billion he allegedly gave to Fayose.
He stated, “During cross-examination by counsel for the second defendant, Olakekan Ojo, SAN, Obanikoro told the court that he never, at any time, showed the EFCC operatives any document showing that he gave instructions or withdrew N1.2 billion from the Diamond Bank account of Sylva McNamara Limited.
“In his previous testimony, Obanikoro told the court that N1.2 billion was deposited in two installments into the account of Sylva McNamara to fund “clandestine security operations” to prevent terrorist activities in Lagos state.
The EFCC PRO also noted that Obanikoro said no when he was asked to produce a resolution from Sylva McNamara’s board of directors authorising him to manage the company’s accounts.
He stated, “I did not provide the EFCC with any Board resolutions or letters. Additionally, there was no letter from Sylva McNamara to the then-Diamond Bank informing the bank that I was asked to manage and control the account.”
Obanikoro told the court that former National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki had no contact with Fayose or Diamond Bank regarding the N1.2 billion withdrawn from the account of Sylva McNamara Limited. He also stated that the EFCC cleared him of any wrongdoing following an investigation.
When asked if he had ever been asked to return money to the EFCC, he responded, “Yes, I did, as it was a condition of my release.” In any case, man would act similarly.”
Although he stated that he could not recall how much was refunded, when Olakekan Ojo, SAN, counsel for the second defendant, asked Obanikoro if the money he refunded was between N100m and N200m, he replied, “Roughly.”
Obanikoro responded to a question about the $4 billion he allegedly gave Fayose by stating, “In our line of work, it is not customary to request a receipt or acknowledgement for such large sums of money. Therefore, there was no confirmation of payment.”
For the continuation of the trial, the case has been postponed until May 8 and 9, and June 6 and 8, 2023.
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