A Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday fixed Feb. 7 for the continuation of the trial of the immediate past Governor of Ekiti, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, over alleged N6.9 billion fraud.
The case which was earlier fixed for today for the continuation of cross-examination of the fifth prosecution witness has been shifted to Thursday.
On the next adjourned date, both the prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), and the defense counsel, Mr. Olalekan Ojo (SAN), will address the court on the admissibility of an extrajudicial statement made by a party who is not standing trial.
Fayose was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Oct. 22, 2018, alongside a company Spotless Investment Ltd on 11 counts.
He had pleaded not guilty to the charges and the court had granted him bail in the sum of N50 million with one surety in like sum.
EFCC had opened the case for the prosecution on Nov. 19, 2018, and called four witnesses.
On Jan. 21, the prosecution called its fifth witness, Sen. Musliu Obanikoro, a former Minister of State for Defence.
At the last adjourned date on Feb. 5 (Tuesday), Obanikoro was still under cross-examination by second defense counsel Ojo, who was expected to continue on the next date.
According to the charge, on June 17, 2014, Fayose and 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 sum they reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.
Fayose was alleged to have received a cash payment of the sum of five million dollars, (about N1.8 billion) from Obanikoro, without going through any financial institution and which sum exceeded the amount allowed by law.
He was also alleged to have retained N300 million in his Zenith Bank account and took control of the aggregate sums of about N622 million which sum he ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.
Fayose was alleged to have procured De Privateer Ltd and Still Earth Ltd, to retain in their Zenith and FCMB accounts, the aggregate sums of N851 million which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.
Besides, the accused was alleged to have used the aggregate sum of about N1.6 billion to acquire properties in Lagos and Abuja, which sums he reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.
The accused 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.
Diezani drags EFCC to court over jewelries
A former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, has urged the court to order the return of her 2,149 pieces of jewellery and a customised gold iPhone, valued at $40million, which were seized by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Diezani, who is currently in the United Kingdom, accused the EFCC of entering her apartment illegally and taking the items without any court order.
She said the anti-graft agency violated her fundamental “right to own property and to appropriate them at her discretion,” under sections 43 and 44 of the Constitution.
She urged the court to reject the prayer by the EFCC to permanently forfeit the jewellery and the gold iPhone to the federal government.
These were contained in an application filed on her behalf by Prof. Awa Kalu (SAN), before the Federal High Court in Lagos.
The EFCC had, on July 5, 2019, secured an order of the court temporarily forfeiting the jewellery and the gold iPhone to the Federal Government.
The anti-graft agency told the court that it found and recovered the jewellery and the customised gold iPhone “on the premises of the respondent;” adding that it reasonably suspected that the former minister acquired them with “proceeds of unlawful activities.”
According to the schedule attached to the application, the jewellery, categorised into 33 sets, include “419 expensive bangles; 315 expensive rings; 304 expensive earrings; 267 expensive necklaces; 189 expensive wristwatches; 174 expensive necklaces and earrings; 78 expensive bracelets; 77 expensive brooches; and 74 expensive pendants.”
The EFCC asserted “the respondent’s known and provable lawful income is far less than the property sought to be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
After granting the interim forfeiture order on July 5, the court adjourned till August 19 (yesterday) for Diezani or anyone interested in the jewellery and gold iPhone to appear before it to give reasons why the items should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.
But in the application filed on her behalf by Kalu (SAN), Diezani contended that the court lacked jurisdiction to have granted the interim forfeiture order in the first place, as she had not been charged with any crime or served with any summons by the EFCC.
She stressed that the entry into her apartment by EFCC operatives was illegal as it was without a court order.
The lawyer added that the temporary forfeiture order was prejudicial to Diezani because she was denied fair hearing.
BREAKING: EFCC raids Ambode’s residence
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Tuesday morning raided the residence of former Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, located at Oloja Estate, Papa, Epe, Lagos over alleged N9.92 billion fraud.
tlt.ng checks revealed that the operatives of the anti-graft agency entered into Ambode’s residence at about 9:00 a.m. in connection with three accounts of the Lagos State Government the agency froze a fortnight ago.
The spokesman of the EFCC, Mr. Tony Orilade, confirmed that the anti-graft operatives were in Ambode’s residence this morning as part of the on-going investigation into his administration.
HOS Oyo-Ita forced to retire over corruption allegations
Embattled Head of Service of the Federation (HoS), Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, who is being investigated for alleged corrupt practices and might soon be put on trial, has sent in her notice of retirement, according to very authoritative presidential sources.
It was gathered that President Muhammadu Buhari was already set to approve her suspension to enable the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to file charges against her for alleged misconduct and corruption, having established a prima facie case against her.
She was last week interrogated by the EFCC over an alleged N3 billion traced to her account, which she could not convincingly explain how the money hit her bank account and the accounts of companies linked to her aides and cronies.
Some of the contractors identified were arrested and interrogated while others were still undergoing interrogation.
The agency had also swooped on some of the contractors handling some projects in different ministries and agencies, who had allegedly given her large sums of money as a bribe.
Following the discoveries, EFCC had frozen her bank accounts and the accounts of some of the contractors and cronies where the N3 billion was domiciled.
The agency was working towards applying for the interim forfeiture of the cash found in her account and the others since she could not offer a convincing explanation on the source of the funds.
Her investigation was called off when she took ill during interrogation. She has since been admitted to a private hospital in Abuja.
It was gathered that the anti-graft agency has already established a prima facie case against her and has concluded plans to file charges against her.
EFCC arraigns woman for allegedlyreceiving N22.9b from ex-NSA Dasuki
A woman, Mrs. Isabella Oshodin, was arraigned on Monday at a Federal High Court in Abuja on a 25-count charge bordering on money laundering of N22,964,228,414. Mrs. Oshodin, who was arraigned with a company, Oshodin Organisation Limited, was accused of unlawfully receiving the money from the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) under Colonel Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (retd.).
In the case filed against Mrs. Oshodin by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the anti-graft agency alleged, among others, that she, on 16 occasions, received N500,000,000; N750,000,000; N125,000,000; N350,000,000; N170,000,000; N85,000,000; N60,000,000; N50,000,000 and other sums totalling N2,366,000,000 from the Office of the NSA.
The EFCC also alleged that the defendant, on eight occasions, received from the Office of the NSA funds amounting to $57,217,301.15 into the Escrow accounts of Bob Oshodin Organisation Limited.
A count in the charge reads: “That you, Mrs. Isabela Mimie Oshodin, Bob Oshodin Organisation Limited and Mr. Robert (Bob) Oshodin (said to be on the run) on or about June 22, 2014 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this honourable court directly transferred $7,712,598 to one Portfolio Escrow Company with account number 3102004330 domiciled in California Republic Bank, United States of America, which sum you reasonably ought to have known to proceed of an unlawful act of Sambo Dasuki (retd), the then National Security Adviser, to wit: criminal breach of trust, and you thereby committed an offense contrary to Section 15 (2) (b) of the Money Laundering (Provision) Act, 2011, as amended in 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.”
The defendant pleaded not guilty when the charge was read to her.
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