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EFCC’s 13th witness concludes evidence in trial of ex-gov Fayose

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A prosecution witness, Mr Abubakar Madaki, on Monday told a Federal High Court in Lagos that  former Gov. Ayodele Fayose, did not personally make any of the financial transactions relevant to the charge before the court.

Madaki gave the evidence under cross-examination in the ongoing trial of Fayose for N6.9 billion fraud and money laundering.

Fayose is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Ccommission (EFCC).

He was first arraigned on October 22, 2018, before Justice Mojisola Olatotegun alongside his company, Spotless Investment Ltd. on 11 counts bordering on fraud.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges and was granted bail on Oct. 24, 2018, in the sum of N50 million with sureties in like sum.

The defendant was, however, re-arraigned before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke, on July 2, 2019, after the case was withdrawn from Justice Olatoregun, following EFCC’s petition.

He 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.

The commission has since opened its case before Justice Aneke, and is still leading witnesses in evidence.

At the resumed trial on Monday, the prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), called on the 13th prosecution witness (Madaki), an Investigating Officer with the EFCC, to enter the witness box in continuation of his cross-examination.

Under cross-examination, the second defence counsel, Mr Olalekan Ojo (SAN), called for exhibit D12, and asked the witness to look through and confirm to the court if there was any transaction relevant to the charge which was personally made by the first defendant.

In response, the witness replied: ‘There is none.”

The defence counsel also asked the witness if he recalled telling the court that he did not witness any of the transactions in the case.

The witness replied, “I only said it was in the course of investigation.”

On whether he acted based on facts in his investigation, the witness replied, “Yes, very well my Lord.”

When further asked if the facts were made available to him by persons who saw or participated in the transactions, the witness replied, “Yes, in the course of investigations.”

The defence counsel asked the witness whether all conclusions tendered or made available to the court including the investigations made in respect to the charge took their root from facts which he was either told or read.

In response, the witness replied “Yes, including documents recovered in the course of investigations.”

When the defence counsel asked the witness if he remembered the name “Eruka” and whether a statement was taken from him, the witness replied in the affirmative, stressing that the statement was also obtained from him in the course of investigation.

When defence counsel asked the witness to confirm if the said Eruka was in Abuja on the same day the 11th witness, Sen. Musilius Obanikoro, had claimed he was in Abuja according to exhibit J.

Before the witness could respond to the question, the prosecutor raised an objection on the grounds that the witness could not be made to give evidence on an extra judicial statement of a dead man which was merely tendered.

After intervention from the court that the witness should answer the question in the interest of justice, the witness replied that he could not find the portion where it was stated.

When asked by Ojo if he came across any document where Fayose had acknowledged receipt of any amount of dollars from Obanikoro, the witness replied that there was no document of acknowledgement.

Under further cross-examination by the first defence counsel, Mr Ola Olanipekun (SAN), who adopted all earlier cross-examinations by Ojo, he asked the witness to confirm his earlier evidence that the sum of N4.6 billion was transferred by the then National Security Adviser (NSA) to one Sivan Macnamara.

In response, the witness said,”Yes.”

On how the transfer was done, the witness told the court that it was transferred from the office of the National Security Adviser from its impress account to the Diamond Bank account of Sivan Madnamara.

Defence counsel then said: “You said payment was made from the NSA to Sivan Madnamara and that part of the money was meant to be transferred to the first defendant.

“I never said transfer, I said it was meant for the first defendant,” said the witness.

The defence counsel asked if he had investigated why a transfer was not made to the first defendant if actually the funds were meant for him.

The witness replied: “Questions were asked and investigations showed that it was meant to disguise the source of the money; so, it was given by cash to avoid traces.”

On whether he had confirmed if the funds were proceeds of drugs, the witness replied that the money was not proceeds of drugs.

The court has adjourned for continuation of trial until July 19.

According to the charge, on June 17, 2014, Fayose and one Abiodun Agbele  took possession of the sum of N1.2 billion for purposes of funding his gubernatorial election campaign in Ekiti, which they reasonably ought to know formed part of crime proceeds.

Fayose was alleged to have received a cash payment of five million dollars 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 sum of about N622 million which he reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.

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

Besides, the defendant allegedly used the aggregate sum of about N1.6 billion to acquire properties in Lagos and Abuja, which he reasonably ought to know formed part of crime proceeds.

He also allegedly used  N200 million to acquire a property in Abuja in the name of his elder sister, Moji Oladeji, which sum he ought to know also formed crime proceeds.

The alleged 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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