EFCC Arraigns Fayose in Lagos Today

Impeached Ekiti State governor, Mr. Peter Ayodele Fayose, is to be arraigned in Lagos today.
Fayose who had appeared in Ado Ekiti, the state capital, last Tuesday more than a year after his removal, surrendered himself to the Economic and Financial Crimes Comm-ission (EFCC) last Friday.
He ws promptly arrested and sources said he would be arraigned today.
Details of the charges were not clear last night.
But the allegations against Fayose border on corruption, abuse of office and murder.
Meanwhile, former Delta State governor, Chief James Ibori, who was arraigned last Thursday at the Federal High Court, sitting in Kaduna may get bail today.
Justice Mohammed Lawal Shuaibu of the court may grant the bail application but with stringent conditions.
The judge had reserved ruling on the bail application till today while ordering that the former Delta State governor be remanded in EFCC custody.
EFCC had slammed a 103-count charge of money laundering and stealing on Ibori.
The commission also acc-used the former Delta State governor of making a $15 million cash payment to bribe its officials to influence investigations into his activities.
The charge sheet also showed that the former governor allegedly used about 15 fictitious names to acquire shares in AfriBank to the tune of N2.77 billion.
Some of the fictitious names used to acquire the AfriBank shares included; Global Heritage International, Fortress Construction co., Sandton Nigeria Limited, Ogan Global Nigeria Limited, Azani Nigeria Ltd, Zaragoza Nigeria Ltd and Jakpan Nigeria Limited.
Others are Limpop Nigeria Ltd, Kent International Ltd. Mombasa Nigeria Ltd, Lugba Nigeria Ltd, Abajin Nigeria Ltd, Arusha Nigeria Ltd and Double Dip Nigeria Ltd.
Ibori pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
EFCC counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, had after reading the charges to Ibori, made an oral application that the former governor be remanded in EFCC custody or any other place of the court’s choice.
But Ibori’s lawyer, Joseph Daudu (SAN), had complained about the procedure being adopted by the court saying it was not for the prosecution to ask for the remand of the accused.
Citing Section 118, sub-section 1&2 of the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA), he however, moved an oral application for bail for Ibori.
But Jacobs immediately opposed the application, insisting that it ought to come in written form with supporting facts to convince the court.
The presiding judge, at this point, interrupted Jacobs, saying the Court of Appeal had allowed courts to entertain such oral applications.
He, however, added that, “the difficulty would be how to canvass facts orally”.
Daudu explained that the reason he made the oral application was because the liberty of the former governor was at stake.
He noted that the principles guiding bail are clear and that the court, in granting such a request, would normally consider the nature of the offence.
Besides, Daudu further argued that, “There was no proof of evidence attached to the charges so as to enable us assess the strength of the prosecution case,” noting that, “The authorities are in favour of bail being granted where there is no proof of evidence attached to a charge.”
He cited the case of Adegbite vs Commissioner of Police, (2006, 13 NWLR, part 997, pg 252) to substantiate his application.
The presiding judge again interjected by observing that, “Under the CPC, you must accompany your charges with proof of evidence, but we are now on trial under a different law not CPC.”
Ibori’s counsel observed that, “In all trials when an accused person is capable of loosing his liberty the presumption of innocence as recognised by the constitution takes precedence,” noting that, “It makes no difference whether a trial is by summary or information.”
He undertook from the bar that if granted bail, the accused persons would not jump bail and that they would endeavour to meet all the conditions of the bail.
But Jacobs insisted that application of that nature could not be made orally stating that it could only be allowed by way of affidavit evidence.
He told the court that there were reasonable grounds to believe that the first accused person would jump bail.
He urged the court to refuse the accused bail.
Meanwhile, the former governor has said that despite his detention by EFCC and the commission’s case against him at the Federal High Court, Kaduna, he now had the chance to cleanse his name In the court of law.
Ibori said for years, “faceless organisations and persons had spawned media attacks against him, publishing innuendoes, outright lies and even forgeries,” just to smear him.
He said: Here in the temple of justice, it is their word against mine, lies against truth, and the arbiter is fortunately for us all, justice pure and simple. A law court is the ultimate level playing field. I will clear my name though they may not know it, that is the opportunity they have inadvertently thrown my way. I embrace this challenge with both arms.”

– Thisday

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