EFCC rejects decision to release Fayose ally

EFCC rejects decision to release Fayose ally

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has dismissed the ruling of Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court, Abuja, holding that the anti-graft agency had failed to prove a N1.2 billion fraud against Abiodun Agbele, an associate of former Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose.

The anti-corruption agency has therefore appealed to the Court of Appeal, requesting that Judge Dimgba’s decision upholding Agbele’s request for dismissal of the case be quashed.

The EFCC had charged Agbele and others with 24 amended counts of money laundering to the tune of N1.2 billion.

In order to prove this allegation, the anti-corruption agency called several witnesses and presented various documents.

However, at the close of the prosecution case, Agbele, rather than presenting a defence, filed a motion to dismiss the case, claiming that the EFCC had failed to prove the allegations against him.

In his ruling, Justice Dimgba agreed with Agbele and held that the EFCC had failed to establish a prima facie case against the defendant sufficient to require him to present a defence.

But the EFCC, in its appeal, argued that the judge misapplied the law.

She argued that the court erred in holding that Agbele, Sylvan Mcnamara Limited, De Privateer Limited and Spotless Investment Limited had no case to answer.

The EFCC insisted that contrary to the court’s ruling, the evidence presented was abundant enough to establish the N1.2 billion fraud allegation.

She argued that the trial court failed to properly assess the testimony of her witnesses and the exhibits she presented to the court.

“There is overwhelming evidence before the trial court that the sum of N1,219,000,000.00 from the account of the National Security Adviser of Nigeria, domiciled at the CBN and earmarked for security purposes, paid into the account of the second defendant by the office of the NSA was illegally diverted by the first, third and fourth defendants to finance the governorship election of former Governor Ayo Fayose in Ekiti State.

“The trial court erred in law in using proceedings pending before another competent court to determine the merits of the proceedings before the trial court.

“The trial court has no power to import into a statutory provision anything that is not expressly inserted therein by the drafter,” the EFCC said.

She therefore asked the Court of Appeal to set aside the decision of the trial court and order Agbele and the others to present their defence.

The EFCC charged Agbele and others with 24 amended counts of money laundering to the tune of N1.22 billion.

The money was said to be part of N4.7 billion allegedly transferred from an account belonging to the Office of the National Security Adviser and domiciled at the CBN.

The money was allegedly handed over by a former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, on behalf of Fayose in June 2014 without going through a financial institution.

Agbele is said to have indirectly accepted the cash through a bank official in Akure, Ondo State.

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