Witness narrates how Fayose’s associate bought property worth N1.3bn from alleged N6.9bn fraud

A witness for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Mrs Joanne Tolulope, Wednesday told a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos of how Mr Abiodun Agbele, an associate of Fayose bought properties worth N1.3 billion within four months.

Tolulope who is the eleventh prosecution witness disclosed Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke in the trial of the former governor over an alleged fraud of N6.9billion filed against him by EFCC.

The witness, who was led in evidence by the counsel to EFCC Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), informed the court that Agbele bought four chalets from her company, Still Earth Limited between March and July 2015.

The witness, who is an in-house counsel for Still Earth Limited stated that the company deals in real estate and also renovate properties to meet the needs and expected standard of its clients.

She testified that sometimes between March and July 2015, her company was approached by Agbele through a phone call and requested to know if there are available properties for sale.

“Incidentally, we have properties for sale. We discussed Mr Agbele’s availability to come for an inspection. He came sometime in March 2015 to inspect the property and requested for two chalets of 3-bedroom and 4-bedroom respectively and paid Five Hundred and Seventy-Five Million Naira (N575,000,000.00) and some fractions for the property.

“Again, in July 2015 he (Agbele) approached us and bought cchalets6 and 9 for Five Hundred and Seventy-Three Million (N573,/000,000.00) and some figures. He also approached us to register the Deed of Assignment in the name of JJ Technical Services”

However, an attempt by Mr Jacobs to tender the Deed of Assignment as an exhibit was resisted by the defence lawyer, Mr Mrle Olanipekun, (SAN) who raised objections as to the admissibility of the document.

Following the objection, Mr Jacobs informed the court that he would withdraw the document but will tender it later during trial.

The witness narrated to the court how the money was paid, in tranches. She said that the sum of Eight Hundred Million (N800, 000, 000.00) was deposited by De Privateer Limited into the account of Still Earth Ltd, and a cash lodgement of TwoHundredd and Nine Million Naira (N209, 000, 000.00) only from one Taofeek on the instructions of Abiodun Agbele.

She stated that in January 2015 the sum of One Hundred and Five Million, Seven Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira (N105,750,000) only was received from Capital Field Investment and Trust Limited, and Thirty-Nine Million, Five Hundred Thousand (N39,500,000) only was received from Hoss Concept while another N40 million was received from De Privateer Limited.

The witness stated that in February 2015, De Privateer Limited paid Two Hundred Million Naira (N200, 000, 000. 00) while the sum of One Hundred and Thirty-Two Million, Five Hundred Thousand Naira (N132,500,000) only was paid by a company called Sam Chase.

The embattled former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose is standing trial on charges bordering on Six Billion, Nine Hundred Million Naira (N6.900,000,000.00) only fraud.

Fayose was first arraigned on 22bd October 2018, before Justice Mojisola Olatotegun, alongside his company, Spotless InvestmentLimitedf, on 11 counts bordering on fraud and money laundering offences.

He had pleaded not guilty to the charges and was granted bail on 24th October 2018, in the sum of Fifty Million Naira (N50,000,000.00) only with sureties in like sum.

The defendant was subsequently, re-arraigned before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke, on 2nd July 2019, after the case was withdrawn from Olatoregun, following EFCC’s petition.

He also pleaded not guilty to the charges and was allowed to continue on the earlier bail granted, while the case was adjourned for trial.

The Commission has since opened its case and is still leading witnesses in evidence.

According to the charge, on 17th June 2014, Fayose and one Abiodun Agbele were said to have taken possession of the sum of N1.2 billion, for purposes of funding his gubernatorial election campaign in Ekiti, 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.

He was also alleged to have retained the sum of N300 million in his account and took control of the aggregate sums of about N622 million which sum he reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.

Fayose was alleged to have procured De Privateer Ltd and Still Earth Ltd, to retain the aggregate sums of N851 million which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.

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.

He 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 contravene 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.

However, the judge adjourned till Thursday for the continuation of the trial.