FORMER Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, has been granted bail by Justice Morenikeji Olatoregun of the Federal High Court, Lagos, on Wednesday.
Fayose has been in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) since October 16. He submitted himself to the anti-graft commission a day after his tenure as governor ended, wearing a t-shirt with a bold inscription, “EFCC I’m here”.
The EFCC accused Fayose of stealing, receiving money from Musiliu Obanikoro, a former minister, criminal breach of trust, illegal acquisition of property in Abuja and Lagos and illegally acquiring property in the name of his sister in Abuja, among others. In all, the EFCC said Fayose’s fraudulent activities amounted to about N6.5 billion naira.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges.
At the resumption of trial on Wednesday, Justice Olatoregun admitted the former governor to bail in the sum of N50 million and two sureties who must have landed property in Lagos and must provide a three-year evidence of tax compliance. Fayose was also ordered to deposit his passport and other travelling documents with the court registrar.
The case was adjourned to November 19 for continuation, while Fayose was ordered to remain in the EFCC custody pending the fulfilment of his bail conditions.
The EFCC has listed at least 22 witnesses, including former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, and former Group Managing Director of Diamond Bank, Alex Otti, to testify against Fayose.
Obanikoro, a former Lagos State governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was the one who allegedly collected hundreds of millions of dollars from the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, and delivered same to Fayose in cash, at the Ekiti State Government House, in 2014. The money, according to the EFCC, was meant to be used for vote buying during the 2015 general election.
However, Obanikoro has recently joined the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), and though he was earlier arrested and detained and charged to court by the EFCC, recent reports said he has been given back his travel documents and has returned to the United States of America where he is partly based.
Officials of the EFCC, however, said that Obanikoro had not been cleared, but was only allowed to travel because he had met some conditions, including returning some of the money he collected from Dasuki.
“Obanikoro was able to return over N100m out of the money he received from Dasuki. He showed a genuine commitment to returning more money and assist the EFCC with investigations and his passports were returned to him. The fact that the Commission returned the passports to him does not mean that he has been cleared,” an unnamed EFCC official was quoted as saying.