From Mike Ojo, Lagos
The immediate past governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, was arraigned on Monday before a Lagos Division of the Federal High Court over an 11-count charge of conspiracy and money laundering.
Fayose,and his company, Spotless Limited, pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
The trial judge, Mojisola Olatoregun, ordered that he be remanded in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and adjourned the case till October 24 for the hearing of his bail application.
According to the EFCC, Fayose received N1.2 billion to fund his 2014 governorship campaign in Ekiti State, an amount he ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act.
Fayose arrived at the court premises at about 8.30am, accompanied by some EFCC officials and armed police officers.
In the charges, the EFCC alleged that on June 17, 2014, Fayose “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.”
He 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 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.”
In another count, Fayose was accused of “taking control of an aggregate sum of N317,000,000,” which he allegedly deposited into the bank account of Spotless Limited, a company controlled by him and his family.
He was also accused of “using an aggregate sum of N1,151,711,573 to acquire chalets 3 and 4; and 5 and 9 of the property situated at Plot 100 Tiamiyu Savage Street, Victoria Island, Lagos in the name of JJ Technical Service.”
The EFCC further alleged that Fayose purchased a property at Plot 1504, Yedsema Street, Maitama, Abuja for N270million from one Rabi Kundili.
The former governor was also alleged to have purchased another property at No.44, Osun Crescent, Maitama, Abuja for N200million in the name of his elder sister, Moji Oladeji.
Among other allegations, the EFCC further accused Fayose of receiving gratification from a firm, Samchase Nigeria Limited.
After pleading not guilty to the charges, the EFCC prosecuting counsel, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, prayed for a trial date and an order remanding Fayose in the prison custody.
However, the defence counsel, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), told Justice Olatoregun that while he agreed with a trial date, he was opposed to the prayer that his client should be remanded in the prison custody.
Agabi said that he had already filed a bail application for Fayose and urged the judge to allow the former governor to return to the custody of the EFCC pending the hearing and determination of the bail application.
Justice Olatoregun granted Agabi’s prayer and ordered that Fayose should be remanded in the custody of the EFCC and adjourned the case till Wednesday, October 24 for the hearing of the bail application.
A former Aviation Minister and member of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode, was in court “to show solidarity” with Fayose.
“I’m here to let people know that he’s not alone, I know what he’s going through because I’ve been there before,” Fani-Kayode told journalists after the court sitting.
Fani-Kayode said that the Federal Government has subjected every member of the PDP to one form of persecution or another.