The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court of Nigeria, Justice Adamu Abdul-Kafarati, has declared that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has lost confidence in Justice Mojisola Olatoregun in the ongoing trial of the former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose.
Fayose is standing trial for alleged fraud of N3.3 billion.
On March 20, there was an open altercation in court between Justice Mojisola Olatoregun and the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
As a result of the altercation, the commission wrote a petition against the judge to the CJ. In the petition dated May 21, and signed by the acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, EFCC raised the need to transfer the case from Olatoregun. It noted that it became imperative on the grounds that it had “lost confidence” in her.
Granting the request of the EFCC, the CJ, on May 23, reassigned the case to Justice C. J. Aneke.
A copy of the letter, which granted EFCC request, read: “I refer to the petition of EFCC on this case and your Lordship’s comments thereto.
“It is apparent that the prosecution has lost confidence in the judge trying this case and justice must not only be done but must be seen to have been done. I hereby transfer this case to Hon. Justice C. J. Aneke for hearing.”
The former governor was on October 22, 2018 arraigned by the EFCC alongside his company, Spotless Limited, on an 11-count charge of alleged N3.3 billion fraud before Justice Olatoregun.
But Fayose pleaded not guilty to the charge and was subsequently admitted to bail in the sum of N50million with one surety in like sum.
The charge said that on June 17, 2014, Fayose and Abiodun Agbele took possession of N1.2 billion, for purposes of funding his gubernatorial election campaign in Ekiti State, which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.
Fayose was alleged to have received a cash payment of $5million (about N1.8 billion) from a former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, without going through any financial institution and which sum exceeded the amount allowed by law.
He was also alleged to have retained the sum of N300 million in his bank account and took control of the aggregate sums of about N622million, which he ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.
The former governor was also alleged to have procured De Privateer Ltd and Still Earth Ltd, to retain the aggregate sums of N851 million in his bank account, which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.
The accused was also alleged to have used the aggregate sums of about N1.6billion to acquire property in Lagos and Abuja.
The accused was also alleged to have used N200 million, to acquire a property in Abuja, in the name of his elder sister, Moji Oladeji.
The offences contravene the provisions of sections 15(1), 15 (2), 15 (3), 16(2)(b), 16 (d), and 18 (c) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011.