Alleged N2.2bn Fraud: Ex-Banker testifies in Fayose’s trial

March 8, 2020
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Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court sitting
in Ikoyi, Lagos has adjourned the fraud trial of former Ekiti State Governor,
Ayodele Fayose.

The former governor is standing trial alongside his company,
Spotless Investment Limited, on an 11-count bordering on fraud and money
laundering to the tune of N2.2 billion.

Led in evidence on Friday by 
prosecution counsel Mr Rotimi Jacobs SAN, the witness who is a former
employee of Skye Bank Plc (now Polaris Bank Plc), Olugboyega Falaye, gave his
testimony before the trial judge.

He told the court how the bank had sold a property on 44,
Plot 1214, Osun Crescent, Maitama, Abuja for N200 million sometime in 2016.

Falaye, who worked in the Real Estate Department of the
bank, told the court that the property in question was put up for sale among
other properties by the bank, after the approval granted by the Board, as well
as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

He said the list of the properties to be sold was given to a
property agent.

The witness stated, “Thereafter, Skye Bank got a contact
with a letter from Philtech Properties Limited in respect of the property in
question. Philtech Properties Limited was represented by one Mrs. Titilayo and
she made an offer for the property for the sum of N200 million.

“Skye Bank countered for N300 million, but we later agreed
to sell the property for N200 million. We came up with all necessary documents
for the transaction and the property was sold out.”

Falaye also told the court that the documents for the
transaction with some attachments were submitted to the EFCC.

He said, “The attachments are ‘letter of offer’ from Skye
Bank to Signature Integrated Limited (the principal to Philtech Properties
Limited); letter from Philtech in response to Skye Bank’s letter making a
counter-offer of N200 million to Skye bank; an email to confirm the office
address of Philtech and the list of assets that was approved for sale by Skye
Bank.”

Under cross-examination by counsel to the defendants and
Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs), Ola Olanipekun and Olalekan Ojo, Falaye
admitted that Skye Bank issued receipts of payment to Signature Integrated
Limited.

He, however, told the court that he was not aware of any
transaction between Still Earth and Signature Integrated.

The witness, during further cross-examination, told the
court that the valuation of the property was carried out before the sale.

“There was nothing unusual about the transaction because the
transaction went through the normal process,” he said.

Falaye, however, told the court that he did not know the
individual who bought the property.

After listening to the testimony of the witness, Justice
Aneke adjourned the case until May 18, 19 and 20, 2020 for the continuation of
trial.

Fayose, alongside Spotless Investment Limited is facing 11
counts charge bordering on criminal breach of trust, theft and money lundering.

In the charges, the EFCC alleged, among other things, that
Fayose, on June 17, 2014, “took possession of the sum of N1, 219, 000,000
to fund your 2014 gubernatorial campaign in Ekiti State, which you reasonably
ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act, to wit:
criminal breach of trust/stealing.”

The ex-governor was also alleged to have on the same day
“received a cash payment of $5,000,000 from Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, the
then Minister of State for Defence, which sum exceeded the amount authorised by
law and you thereby committed an offence contrary to sections 1 and 16(d) of
the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under
Section 16 (2)(b) of the same Act.”

Fayose and Spotless Investment Limited pleaded not guilty.   

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