The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday arraigned former Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose at the Federal High Court in Lagos for allegedly receiving and keeping N1.2billion and $5million stolen funds.
He was arraigned before Justice Mojisola Olatoregun on an 11-count charge of violating the Money Laundering Act.
He was charged with his company Spotless Limited.
EFCC said Fayose and his associate Abiodun Agbele, who is facing a different charge, allegedly took possession of N1, 219, 000, 000 on June 17, 2014 to fund the former governor’s 2014 governorship campaign.
The commission said Fayose “reasonably ought to have known” that the money “formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act, to wit: criminal breach of trust/stealing.”
The alleged offence is contrary to Section 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 15 (3) and (4).
EFCC said Fayose, on the same day, received cash payment of $5million from then Minister of State for Defence Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, without going through a financial institution, the sum having exceeded the amount authorised by law.
The alleged offence, EFCC said, contravenes Sections 1 and 16 (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011.
The commission said Fayose benefited from N4.65billion slush funds allocated by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) under Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.) during the Goodluck Jonathan Administration.
EFCC listed Obanikoro as one of 22 witnesses who will testify in the trial.
Obanikoro, EFCC said, will testify on how he transmitted the money to Fayose “during and before the Ekiti governorship election in 2014 around June 2014”.
The commission said Obanikoro had asked Fayose for an account to transfer the money.
Fayose was said to have sourced for an account belonging to Slyvan Mcnamara Limited domiciled in a new generation bank and forwarded it to Dasuki.
The EFCC said N200million was transferred to the account on June 5, 2014, followed by N2billion on June 16, 2014.
According to the commission, Fayose said N1.2 billion of the money should be made available in cash while the balance should be converted into the dollar, instructions that EFCC said were carried out by Obanikoro.
EFCC said about N1billion was converted to dollar and personally handed to Fayose. The balance of N1.2 billion was later withdrawn in cash and flown to Akure where Obanikoro handed it over to Agbele.
Fayose was also accused of retaining stolen N300million in his fixed deposit bank account and allegedly deposited stolen N317million in a bank account belonging to Spotless Investment Limited, a company controlled by him and members of his family.
In count five, Fayose allegedly took control of N305million between June 26 and August 27, 2014 in Lagos, keeping it in his bank account, when he ought to have known that the money “formed part of proceeds of an unlawful act, to wit: criminal breach of trust/stealing.”
The prosecution said Fayose, between June 18 and 23, 2014, “did procure De-Privateer Limited and one Abiodun Agbele to retain in their an aggregate sum of N719, 490, 000.00 on your behalf, which sum formed parts of proceed of an unlawful act, to wit: criminal breach of trust/stealing.”
Fayose and Spotless Ltd were accused of buying a property on Plot 1504, Yedsema Street, Maitama, Abuja from one Rabi Kundili, with stolen N270million.
He was also alleged to have acquired chalets 3 and 4, 6 and 9 of the property at Plot 100, Tiamiyu Savage Street, Victoria Island, Lagos in the name of JJ Technical Service between November 12, 2014 and August 20, 2015, with an aggregate sum of N1, 151, 711, 573.
The sum, EFCC said, was proceeds of criminal breach of trust/stealing, an offence contrary to Section 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 15 (3).
Fayoso also allegedly bought a property known as No. 44, Osun Crescent, Maitama, Abuja for N200million in the name of his elder sister, Moji Oladeji, between April 23 and 30, 2015, as well as a property known as Plot 1504 Yedseram Street, Maitama, Abuja, for N270million in the name of Spotless Investment.
EFCC said he bought the properties using part of the stolen funds.
In the last count, EFCC said Fayose, on or about January 30, 2015, did procure Still Earth Limited to retain in another bank account the sum of N132.5million.
The sum, said the prosecution, “formed part of the proceeds of your unlawful activity, to wit: gratification which you received from Samchase Nigeria Limited.”
The alleged offence is contrary to Section 18 (c) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 15 (3).
Fayose pleaded not guilty to the 11-count charge.
A court official read the counts and asked Fayose: “Are you guilty or not guilty?”
He responded to each of them: “I am not guilty”.
The former governor arrived at the court premises at about 8.30 am, accompanied by EFCC officials and armed police officers.
He was all smiles as he stepped out of the white Hiace bus that conveyed him to the court.
Fayose sat in the bus for about 20 minutes before he was asked to disembark.
Armed policemen followed and barricaded him as he was led to the court from the bus driven inside the court premises.
As reporters scrambled to take his photographs, he smiled and told the security aides to allow the journalists do their job.
“Just wait for me to sit down so you can take finer shots. Afterall, they have to sell,” Fayose said jovially.
Fayose, smiling in the courtroom, was calm. He wore a pair of jeans and a checkered light blue and red shirt with a pair of black shoes and a pair of glasses.
Among those who accompanied Fayose to court was former Minister of Aviation Femi Fani-Kayode, who said he was in court “to show solidarity”.
Fani-Kayode, in green native attire, with a pink shawl and cap to match, said Fayose’s trial was a continuation of the Muhammadu Buhari administration’s persecution of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members.
Fayose’s lawyer, former Attorney-General of the Federation Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), said he filed a bail application.
EFCC’s lawyer Rotimi Oyedepo said he needed time to respond.
Justice Olatoregun adjourned the bail hearing until tomorrow.
She ordered that Fayose be remanded in EFCC custody.