Court Adjourns Fayose’s Alleged N2.22bn Fraud Trial To March 18th
Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos has adjourned the trial of a former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, to March 18, 2019.
Fayose was arraigned alongside his company, Spotless Investment Limited, on October 22, 2018, on an 11-count charge bordering on fraud and money laundering to the tune of over N2.2 billion.
He is facing trial in connection with the sums of N1.299 billion and $5.3 million out of the N4.65 billion slush funds allegedly shared by the then National Security Adviser, NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd). The court had adjourned to February 7, 2019, for continuation of the cross-examination of a prosecution witness, Musiliu Obanikoro, a former Minister of State for Defence. However, the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, told the court that he was informed earlier today that Obanikoro, who is the fifth prosecution witness, PW5, had been admitted to a hospital.
He said: “My lord, I called the witness yesterday to notify him about today’s proceedings, but he told me he thought he had been discharged by the court yesterday. “But this morning, I called his line, but could not reach him on the phone. “His Special Assistant told me in court today that he (Obanikoro) had been placed on a three-day bed rest.” When Justice Olatoregun asked about Obanikoro’s medical reports, the prosecution counsel said, “I don’t have any medical reports.” Counsel to the second defendant, Spotless Investment Limited, Olalekan Ojo, SAN, moved a motion seeking the court to accept the extra-judicial statement of Justin Eruka, a former aide to Obanikoro, as exhibit.
Moving the motion, Ojo urged the court to admit the certified copy of the statement. Ojo, who made reference to Sections 39 and 83 of the Evidence Act, further stated that the deceased’s statement was before the court as an exhibit, adding that it was relevant to the matter.
However, in his response, Jacobs objected to the admissibility of the document. He said: “Such a statement is not admissible in Law. “The maker is dead; so, he only wants to smuggle it to the court. “Such an extra-judicial statement cannot be tendered in court. “All the arguments of the defence counsel are not relevant.”
He, therefore, urged the court not to admit it as exhibit. Consequently, Justice Olatoregun adjourned the case to March 18, 19 and 20, 2019 for ruling on the motion and continuation of cross-examination of the witness.