8th May, 2023
By Sandra Umeh
The trial of former Ekiti Governor Ayodele Fayose before a Federal High Court in Lagos was halted on Monday due to the absence of Mr. Musiliu Obanikoro, the 12th prosecution witness.
Obanikoro, a former Minister of State for Defence, is still being cross-examined by the defence.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is investigating Fayose on fraud and money laundering charges.
On October 22, 2018, the former governor was arraigned alongside his company, Spotless Investment Ltd., before Justice Mojisola Olatoregun on 11 counts of fraud and money laundering.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges and was granted bail on October 24, 2018, for N50 million with two sureties in the same amount.
But, the defendant was re-arraigned on July 2, 2019, before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke after the case was withdrawn from Justice Olatoregun following the EFCC’s petition.
He had also pleaded not guilty to the charges and was allowed to remain on bail while the case was adjourned for trial.
The commission has since presented its case to Justice Aneke and is still questioning witnesses.
Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) announced an appearance for the prosecution on Monday, while Mr. Olalekan Ojo (SAN) appeared for the second defendant.
Meanwhile, Mr. Ahmed T. was in charge of Mr. Ola Olanipekun’s (SAN) brief for the first defendant.
The prosecutor, who informed the court that the case was for the continuation of Pw12’s cross-examination, added that he had been informed by the witness’ aide that he was out of the country.
Jacobs specifically asked the court to postpone the existing June dates.
The defence counsel did not object to the adjournment application.
However, Ojo, second defence counsel, stated that if “the trend continues on the next adjourned date,” he will be forced to file the “necessary application.”
The first defence counsel, for his part, informed the court of an application for leave of the court for the defendant’s medical travel. He informed the court that his application was due on May 5 but was only filed today.
The prosecutor did not oppose this application.
As a result, Justice Aneke granted the defendant’s application to travel for medicals. He rescheduled the trial for the previously scheduled dates of June 6 and June 8.