Former governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayo Fayose
Ike Abonyi in Abuja
The Economic and Financial crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday re-arraigned a former governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayo Fayose, over a N416 million scam.
According to a statement from the commission, Fayose was docked on a 27-count amended charge before Justice Adamu Hobon of the Federal High Court, Ado Ekiti.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges which border on conversion of public funds for personal use and abuse of office while he held sway as governor of Ekiti State.
Fayose’s re-arraignment was sequel to the transfer of Justice Emmanuel Obile who had been the trial judge.
EFCC’s counsel, Adebisi Adeniyi told the court that the accused was on bail and that he was not going to challenge that.
Counsel to Fayose, Ajayi Owoseni, had sought to stall the re-arraignment by opposing the appearance of Adeniyi as EFCC counsel on the grounds that the fiat to prosecute the case was given to Rotimi Jacobs and not Adeniyi.
He also told the court that the fiat was not transferable and so the prosecution had no counsel in court.
However Adeniyi told the court to dismiss the submission of Ajayi on the grounds that the case was an EFCC case and that EFCC was statutorily empowered to prosecute its cases.
“This is a case that was initiated by EFCC. EFCC has power to initiate and prosecute. Having been briefed by the EFCC which is empowered by the Money Laundering Act, I do not need to come to court to show my letter of authorisation” Adeniyi told the court.
Justice Hobon ruled that the defence’s counsel objection lacked merit and that Adeniyi could hold brief for the EFCC.
Fayose was first arraigned in 2007 at the Federal High Court Lagos for allegedly misappropriating huge amount of the state funds when he held sway at governor of Ekiti State.
He later challenged the jurisdiction of the court on the grounds that the alleged offence was not committed in Lagos but Ekiti State .
The matter was then re-assigned to the Federal High Court, Ado-Ekiti division.
Justice Hobon has adjourned proceedings till January 24, 2013.