N6.9bn Fraud: EFCC Declares Its Witness ‘Hostile’ In Fayose’s Trial

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) today, before a Federal High Court, Lagos, declared its witness in the ongoing trial of the immediate past Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Peter Ayodele Fayose, as an ‘Hostile witness’.

The EFCC declared its witness, Mr. Adewale Aladegbola, ‘hostile’ when he contradicted his extra-judicial statement to the EFCC in the open court today.

The witness had told the court that nothing happened on the June 16, 2014 and that the two vehicles he used to drive were grounded that day.

The witness, Aladegbola, a former driver with the Zenith Bank, Ado -Ekiti branch, who was suppose to be the second prosecution witness for the day told Justice Mojisola Olatoregun, that he get to know about Afao Ekiti sometimes in 2014 that the head of cash payment section of the bank told him that there is something to be done in Afao and that when he asked him what that thing was, he said it was unofficial

“On April 16, 2015  the Zenith Bank bullion van was grounded and there was no operations”

Obviously shocked at this point the prosecutor Mr Rotimi Jacobs told the court that he will be asking for adjournment as the witness seems to be a hostile witness.

The defence counsel Mr Ola Olanipekun, SAN, and Olalekan Ojo, SAN,  opposed the application for adjournment saying the prosecution cant ask for adjournment based on the fact that his witness is not cooperating.

The defence counsel said that rather than asking for adjournment should have declared the witness a hostile witness and contradict him with his statement.

After a prolonged argument, the trial judge adjourned the matter till Tuesday 14th of May.

The prosecutor had earlier called a witness Mr Aliyu Mohammed Mukandaz, a Senior Manager with Central Bank of Nigeria, Head Payment department, Abuja who tendered the payment mandate authorised by the office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).

While being led in evidence, Mukandaz told Justice Mojisola Olatoregun that sometimes in in 2014 the ONSA office brought a payment mandate of the sum of N200 million  in favour of Mcmara to the bank and that after due diligence was carried out the payment was effected.
Mukandaz further stated that on June 13, 2014 another mandate of N2 billion from the office of ONSA was brought also in favour of Mcmara and that the mandate was honoured.

Meanwhile, there are unconfirmed report  that the anti-graft agency might have arrested the witness, Mr. Clement, But all efforts at confirming the report  from the Commission was yet to yield result as at press time.

In the charge, the EFCC alleged that on June 17, 2014, Fayose and one Agbele were said to have 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 alleged to have received a cash payment of the sum of five million dollars, (about N1.8 billion) from the then Minister of State for Defence, Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro, without going through any financial institution and which sum exceeded the amount allowed by law.

He was also alleged to have retained the sum of N300 million in his Zenith Bank 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 alleged to have procured De Privateer Limited and Still Earth Limited,  to retain in their Zenith and FCMB accounts, the aggregate sums of N851 million which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.

Besides, the defendant was alleged to have used the aggregate sums of about N1.6 billion to acquire properties 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 contravenes the provisions of sections 15(1), 15 (2), 15 (3), 16(2)(b), 16 (d),  and 18 (c)  of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011.

About Paul Sanusi, Lagos

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