Advertisement

‘N1.2bn money laundering’: Court upholds no-case submission of Fayose’s ally

A federal high court in Lagos has upheld the no-case submission filed by Abiodun Agbele, an associate of Ayodele Fayose, former governor of Ekiti.

Agbele is standing trial alongside Sylvan Mcnamara Limited, De Privateer Limited, and Spotless Investment Limited on a 24-count amended charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of N1.219 billion.

The money is part of the N4.7 billion allegedly transferred from an account belonging to the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting Agbele for indirectly accepting the sum in cash through an official of Zenith Bank in Akure, Ondo state.

Advertisement

The money was allegedly delivered by Musiliu Obanikoro, a former minister of state for defence, on behalf of Fayose in June 2014 without going through a financial institution.

The EFCC said Agbele committed an offence contrary to Section 1(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended).

The anti-graft agency also accused Agbele of aiding De Privateer Limited to take possession of N200 million — which was part of the N1.219 billion — on behalf of Fayose, contrary to Section 18 (a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011 (as amended) and punishable under section 18 of the same Act.

Advertisement

The prosecution called 16 witnesses between September 2016 and 2024.

However, instead of opening a defence, the first defendant (Agbele) filed a no-case submission, insisting that the prosecution had failed to establish a prima facie case against him.

Ruling on Agbele’s application, Nnamdi Dimgba, the judge, sustained the defendant’s no-case submission.

“PW13 (Obanikoro) in an evidence and several other bank officials who gave evidence attest to the fact that Abiodun Agbele was only physically present but the banks handled the whole transaction,” the court said.

Advertisement

“Though Obanikoro was a minister at the time, he expressly stated that he did not have or know the source of the funds from the NSA because there was fundraising, having been in charge of the election conducted in 2014.”

The court said Sambo Dasuki, who was NSA at the time and an important witness in the case, was not called.

“That Dasuki and Fayose was not per chance brought up as witnesses to contradict Obanikoro or other witnesses called by the prosecution,” the judge added.

“Dasuki and Fayose were also not subpoenaed.”

Advertisement
Add a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected from copying.