A banker, Mr Lawrence Akande, on Monday told a Federal High Court in Lagos that he received money on behalf of former Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, sometime in 2014, at the Akure Airport in Ondo State.
Fayose is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged N6.9 billion money laundering charge.
Akande, a banker with Zenith Bank Plc, testified as the first prosecution witness.
He said the bank received deposits in tranches from the embattled former governor after it solicited patronage from him.
Fayose was arraigned on October 22, 2018, before Justice Mojisola Olatotegun, alongside a company, Spotless Investment Limited, on 11 counts of fraud and money laundering offences.
The former governor pleaded not guilty and was granted N50 million bail on October 24, 2018, with two sureties in like sum.
The defendant was re-arraigned before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke last July 2.
He repeated his plea and was allowed to continue on the earlier bail granted, while the matter was adjourned for trial.
At the resumption of proceedings yesterday, Mr Adebisi Adeniyi announced appearance for the prosecution while Messrs Ola Olanipekun (SAN) and Olalekan Ojo (SAN) appeared for the first and second defendants.
During examination-in-chief, the witness said he supervised 20 Zenith Bank branches in Oyo, Ogun and Osun states.
He recalled that in 2014 he was in Ibadan as Zonal Head of the bank.
According to him, Fayose maintained three accounts with the bank, namely, Spotless Investment, De Privateer, and Fayose’s personal account, which he said is domiciled in Apapa, Lagos.
Akande told the judge that in June 2014, he received a call from the former governor informing him that there would be a business transaction in Akure.
The witness called Biodun Oshode, who was based in Akure as Zonal Head of the bank, to handle the transaction.
Under cross-examination, the witness explained that it was his bank that solicited patronage from the defendant.
Narrating how the patronage was sought, he said: “He (Fayose) has always been my governor, and yes, as a good zonal head of my bank, I solicited patronage from him.”
Defence: “You knew the defendant (Fayose) to be someone of high net worth through whom you got sufficient funds into your bank?
Witness: “Yes. A man of low means does not become the governor of a state…”
Akande also told the court that he received a call from Fayose to pick up some money from Akure Airport, sometime in June 2014.
At the prosecution’s instance, Justice Aneke adjourned further proceedings till today.
According to the charge, on June 17, 2014, Fayose and one Abiodun Agbele were said to have taken possession of N1.2 billion for purposes of funding his governorship election campaign in Ekiti, which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.