EFCC Appeals Ruling Acquitting Fayose’s Ally, Others In ₦1.2 Billion Money Laundering Case

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has filed a notice of appeal to challenge the ruling of Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court which acquitted Abiodun Agbele, an associate of the former Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose, and three others, in the ₦1.2bn money laundering charge brought against them by the commission.

Agbele and 3 companies linked to him and Fayose, namely Sylvan Mcnamara Limited, De Privateer Limited, and Spotless Investment Limited were listed as the first to fourth respondents in the appeal.

The ₦1.2bn is said to be part of the sum of ₦4.7 billion belonging to the Federal Government and allegedly transferred from an account associated with the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) in the Central Bank of Nigeria.

On the 21st of June, 2024, Justice Dimgba upheld the no-case submission of Agbele and ruled that he had no case to answer.

In the notice of appeal, the EFCC, through its prosecuting counsel, Senior Advocate of Wahab Shittu listed 17 grounds of appeal and sought two reliefs from the Court of Appeal:

First, it sought for an order allowing the appeal set aside the ruling of Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court, Abuja, and in its place holding that the 1st, 3rd and 4th respondents have a case to answer on counts 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 and 24 of the amended charge.

The commission also sought an order directing the 1st, 3rd and 4th respondents to enter into their defence before the trial court on listed counts of the amended charge.

The EFCC expressed its dissatisfaction with the whole decision of the lower court, particularly paragraph 2 of the June 21 ruling.

The commission also complained about the decision which discharged and acquitted the 1st 3rd and 4th respondents on counts 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 1 4, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 and 24 of the amended Charge, dated March 5, 2024, and filed on March 7, 2024, before Justice Dimgba of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, among others.

The commission said there is overwhelming evidence that N1,219 million from the account of the National Security Adviser (NSA) of Nigeria domiciled with CBN and earmarked for security purposes and paid into the account of the 2nd respondent by the office of the NSA was unlawfully diverted by the 1st, 3rd and 4th respondents to fund Fayose’s governorship election.

It said the trial court erred in law in holding that, in spite of overwhelming oral and documentary evidence admitted by the trial court showing that the 1st, 3rd and 4th respondents unlawfully retained, transferred and took possession of the various sums of money contained in counts 1 to 24, the 1st, 3rd and 4th respondents still have no case to answer on the said counts as constituted by the appellant.

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