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N6.9bn fraud: EFCC opens trial in Fayose’s trial

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The prosecution on Monday opened its case before a Federal High Court Lagos in the criminal trial of immediate past Governor of Ekiti, Ayodele Fayose, charged with N6.9 billion fraud.

Fayose was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Oct. 22 alongside his company — Spotless Investment Ltd on 11 counts.

He had pleaded not guilty to the charges, and the court granted him bail in the sum of N50million with one surety in like sum and adjourned until Monday the case for trial.

On Monday, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) appeared for the EFCC, while Messrs Kanu Agabi (SAN) and Olalekan Ojo (SAN) represented the first and second accused respectively.

Jacobs then called on first prosecution witness, Mr Lawrence Akande, a banker in a commercial bank in charge of South West 1, comprising Ogun, Oyo and Osun States.

Led by the prosecutor, the witness told the court that in June 2014, he was called by one Abiodun Agbele, who informed him that he had about N1.2 billion cash lodgement to make in Akure.

He told the court that afterwards, he also received a call from Fayose on the same issue, adding that since the lodgement was in Akure, he placed a call across to his colleague in Akure to follow up same.

“This is all I know on this issue,” he said

When asked if he knew the second accused, (Spotless Ltd), he replied that the company is a customer of his bank with account at Dugbe branch.

The prosecutor then showed the witness some account opening document of Spotless Nig. Ltd, De Privateer Ltd, Still Earth Ltd as well as account document of first accused.

The witness confirmed the document and they were admitted by the court and marked exhibit A.

When asked where the account of Fayose was domiciled, the witness replied ” It is not domiciled within my domain but from the document before me here I can see Apapa,”

Prosecutor: ” Tell the court if the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) maintained an account with your bank,”

Witness: ” Not only PDP, but so many other political parties”

During cross examination, the witness told the court that he made statements to the EFCC, on June 6, 2016, and confirmed that he made no mention of the first accused in his earlier statement

Being cross-examined by defence counsel, (Agabi) he said that he only made mention of Fayose in his subsequent statements.

Defence then asked ” you said your colleagues handled the transactions, so it means your narration here is based on what you were told,”

The witness replied, ” I was told how the cash was processed.”

Defence : ” You had solicited for the defendant’s patronage before he came in as Governor. ”

Witness: “We solicited for patronage on the opening of government account with out bank, because part of my business is to look for deposits.”

Defence: “Until invited by the EFCC, you did not observe any abnormalities with this account,”

Witness: ” No”

During cross-examination by second defence counsel, (Ojo) the witness told the court that he had worked in banking sector for 28 years.

He confirmed to the court that a person who is not a signatory to an account cannot make withdrawals from such account.

According to the witness, there are withdrawal limits in every account and where withdrawals are to be made above the stipulated limits, it is reported to the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) to investigate such transaction.

Ojo: “With respect to cash lodgments into these companies, your bank never lodge any report of suspicious transaction, ”

The witness replied”We had no reason to do so,”

Ojo: “Do you confirm stating to the EFCC that before the account opening of De Privateer, the sums of N200 million was lodged in the acxount.,”

Witnes “Yes”

Defence: ” You agree that before June 2014, huge sums of money had been lodged in the account of De Privateer,”

Witness “Yes”

Ojo then asked ” Are you aware that the PDP before elections, organised fund raising, and do you know that political parties organise fund raising,’

Witness” It is not impossible but I don’t know,”

Ojo: ” I put it to you that you have never had any dealing with the account of the second defendant,”

The witness replied ” you are correct ”

Defence counsel then asked “your CCTV camera captures customers making lodgements in the bank,”

Witness: ” If it is not faulty, it should, ”

EFCC then called its second witness, Mr Abiodun Oshordi.

The witness introduced himself as the Zonal head of the bank, covering South West 2 which includes, Ondo, Kwara and Ekiti, adding that he also supervises all branches in the three localities.

Prosecutor: “Cast your mind to 2014 and tell the court what you know in relation to this case,”

The witness told the court that he received a call from his colleague (Akande) that Agbele will be coming to make some lodgments and that he should organise a bullion van.

He said that he waited for Agbele who arrived with one Sadiku and some escorts, adding that Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro, the then Minister of State for Defence, and his aide, also accompanied them.

According to him, as soon as the aircraft arrived, he moved with the bullion van towards the plane to evacuate the money.

He said that the total sum amounted to N1.2billion, adding that they were lodged into accounts supplied by Agbele.

He said that they include: Spotless Nig. Ltd, De Privateer Ltd as well as personal account of the first accused, while some cash were taken to Ado-Ekiti.

When asked to look at the deposits in the account of Spotless Ltd from June 17 to Aug 4, 2014, he told the court that there was a lodgment of N100million on June 17.

He said that on June 23, there was a cash lodgement of N49milion, on June 24, a cash lodgement of N200,000, while on Aug. 4, there was a cash lodgement of N40 million.

According to him, on same Aug.4, there were also cash lodgements in the sums of N35million, N35million, N24million, N20million and N14 million respectively.

The witness told the court that Agbele made the deposit of June 17, while from the statement before him, he could see that it is written Ayo as depositor of the funds on Aug.4.

Justice Mojisola Olatoregun has adjourned until Jan.21 and 28 for continuation of trial.

According to the charge, on June 17, 2014, Fayose and 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 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 Ltd and Still Earth Ltd, to retain in their two bank accounts, the aggregate sums of N851 million which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.

Besides, the accused 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 contravened 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.

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FG urged to declare state of emergency on federal roads, Senate tasks

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Disturbed by the deplorable conditions of road networks across the country, the Senate on Tuesday, charged the federal government to declare a state of emergency on all federal roads.
This was as the upper legislative chamber mandated  its Committees on Petroleum (Downstream), Federal Roads Maintenance Agency, FERMA and National Planning to investigate the Petroleum Products Price Regulatory Agency, PPPRA on the non-remittance of five percent user charge pump price of petrol.
Besides, the joint committees were also asked to investigate the non remittance of international vehicle transit charge accruing to FERMA and other established state roads maintenance agency.
These resolutions followed deliberations on a motion sponsored under Orders 42 and 52 of the Senate rule by Senator Geshom Bassey (PDP Cross River South)  who lamented the deplorable state of federal roads in the country.
Presenting the motion, Senator Basset expressed concern that several thousands of lives have been lost to road accidents due to bad and un-motorable roads, while bad portion of roads are safe haven for kidnappers and armed robbers on Nigerian highways.
Supporting the motion, Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP Enugu North) said the state of the federal highways are highly deplorable and that urgent attention is needed especially within this budget cycle to do something drastic to address the situation.
Utazi said “and like you prayed that the PPPRA should release the fund for totally provided for FERMA to do  it’s job.
“Mr President, the raining season is just gradually coming to an end and this is the opportunity for FERMA to go and start rehabilitating our roads so that Nigerians can move freely.
“This period is also the time for harvest and in order to ensure that farmers that are in the hinterland get to the appropriate market to get adequate prices for their goods, we  have to make sure the roads are properly done.
“You also know that because we don’t have the rail lines that should be in place, most of the goods and services that we move from one place to the other are done through trucking and if you continue to do trucking, you know that the life span of any  major federal highway may not last long.
“This is a very important motion moved at the most appropriate time to get the desired attention and I’m standing here lending my support and full weigh to get that being done knowing fully well that those of us from the south east are the major complainants of the bad roads in this country and we hope that we get the desired attention from FERMA if  this motion scales through.”
In his remark, President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan said he believe that every part of the country suffers from this problem of deplorable  roads.
He expressed optimism that the  committees mandated to look into the matter will  swing into action and attend to the issue associated with this motion.
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Metro

SAD… Taraba INEC REC is dead

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The INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, (REC) in Taraba State, Alhaji Baba Abba Yusuf, is dead.
INEC Secretary, Rose Oriarian-Anthony, said the REC died on Saturday night at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Borno State, where he had been on admission.
She said: “The Independent National Electoral Commission regrets to announce the death of the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Taraba State, Alhaji Baba Abba Yusuf.
“He died last (Saturday) night at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Borno State, where he was on admission for sometime.
He was buried today (Sunday) September 29 2019 at 4pm in Maiduguri.
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Transgender: Sade Adu’s daughter finally becomes a man (PHOTOS)

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Izaak and Mum

Sade’s transgender son has shared a heartfelt message of thanks to the soul singer, as he completes his transition from female to male.

Izaak Theo Adu, born Mickailia ‘Ila’ Adu, has spent the past six months in recovery after undergoing phalloplasty surgery, the reconstructive procedure typically undergone by transgender and non-binary people.

After returning home to his family, Izaak shared a sweet photo of himself hugging Sade, 60, along with a message praising the iconic singer for her unwavering support. In the Instagram post, Izaak wrote: ‘It’s been a long hard road but We did it!! We are coming home!!!! ‘Thank you for staying by my side these past 6 months Mumma. Thank you for fighting with me to complete the man I am. ‘Thank you for your encouragement when things are hard, for the love you give me. The purest heart. I love you so much. Queen of queens ♥️ #mumma #lioness #queen#iloveyou.’

Izaak is Sade’s only child from her former relationship with reggae music producer Bob Morgan.

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