Court Grants Fayose N50m Bail, Fixes Trial for Nov 19

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Ayodele Fayose

Davidson Iriekpen

A Federal High Court in Lagos wednesday granted bail in the sum of N50 million to the immediate past Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose.

Fayose is standing trial on charges bordering on N6.9 billion electioneering campaign fraud.

He was arraigned last Monday by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), alongside a company, Spotless Investment Limited, on 11- count charges.

He had pleaded not guilty to the charges, while the court had adjourned the case for hearing of his bail application.

Meanwhile, the court had ordered his remand in custody pending the fulfillment of the bail terms.

At the resumed hearing of Fayose’s bail application yesterday, his lawyer who is also a former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Kanu Agabi (SAN), told the court that the application was dated October 22 and brought pursuant to the inherent jurisdiction of the court.

Agabi also told the court that there was a presumption of innocence of an accused until guilt is established, adding that the ex-governor is very eager to see the conclusion of the charges before the court and so, will not jump bail.

He told the court that Fayose willfully submitted himself to the EFCC, immediately after leaving office as governor, which shows his readiness to face the charge.

He, therefore, urged the court to grant bail to the accused on self recognisance as a former governor.

Responding, the EFCC prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), informed the court of a counter affidavit in opposition to bail. Though, he told the court that bail is a constitutional right but there were limitations.

Jacobs also opposed the application for bail on self-recognisance, on the grounds that being a former governor was not a yardstick for granting bail, as it does not guarantee attendance of the accused in court.

He expressed concerns that intelligence reports reveals that the accused will interfere with witnesses and proceedings, and may jump bail if granted.

He urged the court to refuse bail on his laid down arguments

In a short ruling, Justice Mojisola Olatoregun, noted that the allegations proffered by prosecution in its counter affidavit were grave, but that the accused would be given a benefit of doubt.

The court consequently held: “The defendant is admitted to bail in the sum of N50 million with two sureties in like sum.”

The court ordered that the international passport of the accused should be deposited with the court’s Deputy Chief Registrar (DCR).

She adjourned the case till November 19 for trial.

The EFCC in a charge marked FHC/L/353c/18, alleged that Fayose and Agbele had on June 17, 2014, taken possession of the sum of N1.2 billion, for purposes of funding his gubernatorial election campaign in Ekiti State, which sum they reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.

Fayose was also alleged to have received a cash payment of the sum of $5 million, (about N1.8 billion) from the then Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, without going through any financial institution and which sum exceeded the amount allowed by law.

He was equally alleged to have retained the sum of N300 million in his Zenith Bank Plc’s 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 further alleged to have procured two companies, De Privateer Limited and Still Earth Limited, to retain in their Zenith Bank Plc, and First City Monument Bank Plc (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 sums of about N1.6 billion to acquire assets 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.

The offences according to the EFCC are contrary to and punishable under sections 15(1),15 (2), 15 (3), 16(2)(b), 16 (d), and 18 (c) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011.