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Alleged N6.9billion Fraud: Former Ekiti Governor, Ayodele Fayose, Tampered With Our Witness - EFCC

Ayodele Fayose 


IKOYI, LAGOS STATE, NIGERIA - The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Friday, October 25, 2019, revealed before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of a Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos State, Nigeria, that the immediate past governor of Ekiti State Ayodele Fayose tampered with its witness to change his evidence in the ongoing trial of the former governor.

The Commission through its lawyer, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) stated this at the resumed trial of former Governor Ayodele Fayose, who is facing charges that had to do with fraud to the tune of N6.9billion.

Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) was apparently responding to an application initiated by the team of defence counsel, Ola Olanipekun (SAN) and Olalekan Ojo (SAN), wherein they had confronted the competence of a proposed third witness sought to be sworn on oath.

It would be recalled that Ayodele Fayose who was first arraigned on October 22. 2018, before Justice Mojisola Olatotegun, alongside his company, Spotless Investment Ltd, on 11 count-charge, is being tried by the anti-graft agency over alleged N6.9billion fraud and money laundering.

Ayodele Fayose had pleaded not guilty to the charge and was granted bail on October 24, 2018, in the sum of N50 million with two sureties in like sum.

But Ayodele Fayose was subsequently re-arraigned before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke, on July 2, after the case was withdrawn from Justice Mojisola Olatoregun consequent upon a petition by the Commission.

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

While the proceedings lasted today, the EFCC had called its third witness, Johnson Abidakun, who is Head of Operations at the Ado-Ekiti branch of a new generation bank.

As Johnson Abidakun stepped into the witness box and was about to be sworn on oath, lawyer to Ayodele Fayose, Ola Olanipekun (SAN) raised an objection which was supported by Olalekan Ojo (SAN).

The senior lawyers pointed accusing fingers at the EFCC of prosecutorial misconduct on the grounds that they (defence) had sought leave of court to study the proof of evidence of the witness and had noticed he made judicial statements.

Prior to this time, the anti-graft agency had called its 13th witness, Adewale Aladegbola, who had during trial introduced himself as driver of a bullion van in the Ado-Ekiti branch of the bank during the aborted trial before Justice Mojisola Olatoregun.

The defence lawyers informed Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke that although the testimony of Adewale Aladegbola was abruptly stopped by the prosecution, they never declared him hostile, but has now called the instant witness (Abidakun) to “cure” the lacuna of that previous witness.

This prompted Olalekan Ojo (SAN) to describe the procedure as a prosecutorial misconduct.

Responding, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) said: “I thank God that my learned friend is not the one presiding; they have alleged prosecutorial misconduct on my part, and so. I have to explain to my lord that we did not misconduct ourselves.

“It is just because of my relationship with defence counsel, otherwise, I know what his client (Ayodele Fayose) would have been going through by now.

“I know what happened with that witness; we obtained statements from that witness, he was in the witness box, only for him to be approached later and asked to change his evidence.

“He was visited in his house; and the witness made statement to the EFCC afterwards.”

Rotimi Jacob's assertion then forced the defence to raise objection on the grounds that Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) could not be giving evidence on such scenario, as he was not present or an eye witness.

Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke subsequently adjourned the matter until November 28, 2019 by 12 noon and November 29 by for ruling and continuation of trial.

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