…As Court Grants Akwe Doma N300 Million Bail
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, on Wednesday, October 19, 2011, accused a former governor of Ekiti state, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, standing trial on an 80 count charge bordering on corruption and money laundering, of employing delay ploys and antics all aimed at frustrating his trial. Counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs, told a Federal High Court sitting in Ado-Ekiti, presided over by Justice E.A,. Obile, that the refusal of the defence counsel to allow trial to proceed owing to an application brought before the court seeking the quashing of the charges preferred against Fayose’s co-accused persons- Spotless Investment Limited, Fayerio Nigeria Limited and Hoff Concept Ltd was a deliberate attempt to prolong his trial.
At the resumed sitting of the court on Wednesday, defence counsel, Abayomi Sadiku, prayed the court to hear an application he filed seeking to quash all the charges preferred against Fayose’s co-accused. Rotimi Jacobs opposed this submission vehemently saying the last adjournment of the court was to resume Fayose’s trial, and not to hear the defence counsel’s application. He also said that he was served the defence’s counsel application in court just before proceedings started. “The motion served on me this morning is not in the business of the court today. The matter is for trial. I have mobilized my witnesses from Lagos . The charge he is challenging was filed in 2009, three years after he is seeking to quash the charges, that application is not ripe for hearing”, he said.
He urged the court to take into cognizance the EFCC Act which demands accelerated hearing of corruption charges. “I urge the court to give effect to the Commission’s Act by giving accelerated hearing to the case.” Jacobs also canvassed that the application can still be taken as the counts which the 2nd and 3rd accused persons wanted the court to drop cannot interfere with the charges against the first accused person and that the witnesses he was presenting were in court because of the first accused person. However counsel to Ayodele Fayose, Otunba K. Kalejaiye, SAN urged the court to dismiss the submission of Rotimi Jacobs, saying that, a matter of jurisdiction and competence of the charge should be given priority.
He also said that it will be wrong to hear the case piecemeal as it was a joint trial. On his part, counsel to the 4thaccused person, Ahmed Tarfa also asked the court not to hear the case, alleging that he was not served all relevant court processes.
The EFCC, re-arraigned Fayose and the three others on an 80 count charge before Justice Obile on July 5, 2011 at the Ekiti Federal High Court after Fayose challenged the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court Lagos on the grounds that the alleged offences were committed in Ekiti State . The case was subsequently transferred to Ekiti State where it started denovo. Fayose was first arraigned in 2009 on charges of corruption and money laundering.
In another development, a former governor of Nasarawa State, Alhaji Aliyu Akwe Doma, and eight others who are facing a 17 count charge of money laundering preferred against them by the by the EFCC were on Wednesday, October 19, 2011, admitted to bail on stringent conditions by a Federal High Court, sitting in Lafia, Nasarawa state.
In his ruling on the bail application, Justice Marcel Awokulehin granted ex-governor Aliyu Akwe Doma bail in the sum of N300 million and two sureties in like sum. Eight others were granted bail in the sum of N200 million each and two sureties in like sum. One of the two sureties must own property in any metropolis within the jurisdiction of the court. The second surety must be a civil servant in either federal or state government service not below level 15. All accused persons to deposit their international passports with the court. They are to remain in EFCC custody pending the perfection of their bail.
The former governor and the eight others were on Tuesday October 18, 2011, arraigned on a 17 count criminal charge of laundering stolen state funds totalling over N15 billion. The ex-governor was arraigned along with Senator John Dangoyi, Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin, Timothy Anthony Anjide, Dauda Egwa, Suleiman Ibrahim, Broworks Ltd and Green Forest Investment Ltd while charges filed against two other accused, John Aigbakhode and Incapint Nig Ltd who are still at large were stepped down.
At the resumed sitting, the prosecution filed his application opposing the request by the accused to be granted bail. Justice Awokulehin, who had earlier assured both the prosecution and the defence of his preparedness to give the case expeditious trial.
The case has been adjourned till December 6 and 7, 2011, for the substantive trial.
One of the charges against Doma and others reads: “That you Aliyu Akwe Doma (Former Governor of Nasarawa state), Timothy Anthony Anjide and Dauda Egwa between January 2007 and December 2009, in Lafia, Nasarawa State within the Jurisdiction of this Honourable Court converted the sum of N5, 000, 000,000 (Five Billion naira Only) property of Nasarawa state Government being proceeds of an illicit act to wit: Concealing its illicit origin and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 14(1)(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2004 and punishable under Section 14(1) of the same Act.
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