The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has assembled 22 witnesses to testify against the immediate-past Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose, in court.
The anti-graft agency is set to arraign the former governor before the Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday (today) for an alleged fraud of N2.2bn.
It alleged that Fayose took possession of the money “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.”
Among the witnesses lined up to testify against the ex-governor is a former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, and a former Group Managing Director of Diamond Bank Plc, Mr Alex Otti.
Also to testify is Ayotunde Owope, said to be Fayose’s account officer.
According to the EFCC, Owope opened a bank account for Fayose and “he will give evidence on how funds were transferred from one account into another.”
Obanikoro, who was listed as the second witness, is expected to testify about how he took N2.2bn from the then National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, for onward delivery to Fayose in June 2014.
Obanikoro is to narrate to the court how Fayose allegedly requested that out of the N2.2bn, N1.2bn should be delivered to him in cash while the remaining N800m should be converted to US dollars.
After arraigning Fayose today (Monday), the EFCC is expected to start calling its witnesses.
However, Sunday PUNCH reported that Obanikoro, who was listed as the second witness, had left the country for the US, with no definite return date.
“Obanikoro travelled out on Wednesday evening, saying he wanted to go for medical treatment. He gave no date when he would return,” a source in the EFCC told Sunday PUNCH.
Ex-Group Managing Director, Diamond Bank, Otti, is to tell the court how sometime in 2014, Obanikoro approached him in his office in Lagos, saying he expected the Central Bank of Nigeria to pay certain sums of money into the Diamond Bank account of a firm, Sylvan Mcmanara Ltd., and that he needed the money or most of it transferred to Ekiti.
Otti is expected to tell the court how Diamond Bank offered to transfer the money electronically but Obanikoro insisted that he wanted the money delivered in cash in Ekiti. The bank then charged a fee of five per cent and made arrangement to transfer the cash to Ekiti the following day.
Fayose will be standing trial alongside a firm, Spotless Limited.