The Federal High Court in Lagos has allowed the former governor of Ekiti State, Mr Ayodele Fayose, who is being tried for alleged N2.2bn fraud, to embark on a foreign medical trip.
Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke granted an application brought by his lawyer, Ola Olanipekun (SAN), seeking the leave of the court to be allowed to travel.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, through its lawyer Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), did not oppose the application.
Justice Aneke has adjourned further hearing in the case till January 22, 2021.
The EFCC is prosecuting Fayose alongside a firm, Spotless Investment Limited, for alleged N2.2bn fraud.
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.”
The EFCC also alleged that Fayose purchased a property known as No. 44, Osun Crescent, Maitama, Abuja for N200m in the name of “your elder sister, Mrs Moji Oladeji.”
But Fayose and Spotless Investment Limited have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
At the last sitting of the court in October, counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) had asked for a long adjournment of the case.
He told the court that he could not reach the Investigating Police Officer (IPO) in charge of the case and that some documents needed for trial were not available.
The EFCC Counsel had also admitted to the court that he was “having difficulties bringing his witnesses to the court because of happenings in the EFCC.” This might not be unconnected with the removal of the former Acting Chairman of the Commission, Ibrahim Magu and the subsequent suspension of some of his core officers.
However, Fayose’s counsel opposed the application for a long adjournment, saying “When these dates were taken, it was made to be a long adjournment for all parties to get prepared. I came from Abuja yes and if I could come here, why can’t their documents be brought here too?”