Hearing of the fraud charges levelled against former Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) began yesterday at the Federal High Court in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital.
The commission tendered documents exposing how Fayose “diverted” N860 million meant for poultry projects during his tenure through his wife, Feyi; his deputy, Mrs. Biodun Olujimi; and others.
EFCC has been pursuing a case of N1.2 billion fraud against the former governor.
Giving evidence before Justice Adamu Hobon of the Federal High Court, sitting in Ado-Ekiti, an EFCC official, Mr. Abubakar Madaki, named Fayose’s wife, his mother and Mrs. Olujimi as beneficiaries of the funds.
EFCC lawyers, led by Mr. Adebisi Adeniyi, presented the documents in support of their evidence through Madaki.
The documents included Fayose’s statement during his visit to the Lagos office of the EFCC, petitions against him and documents containing the names of the alleged beneficiaries of the money.
Also tendered were cheque stubs, reports from the Federal Ministry of Works and a letter acknowledging that Mrs. Olujimi collected 50,000 dollars.
A building plan designed by Grid Associates for Fayose’s home in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, and a copy of an agreement between the Ekiti State government and Biological Concepts Nig. Ltd., handlers of the project, were also tendered.
All the documents were admitted as exhibits by Justice Hobon.
Madaki said he headed the team that investigated the petitions against the former governor, noting that only four of the 20 poultry farms in the agreement were concluded.
He said: “Some of the farms had three or four pens, instead of the five or six stated in the agreement.”
Madaki said the agreement stated that the company would set up poultry farms in four areas, with the headquartres in Afao-Ekiti, Fayose’s hometown.
He said the commission found out that none of the poultry sites had provision for power generating sets or boreholes as indicated in the agreement and they were all overgrown with weeds.
Madaki said the Chairman of Biological Concepts Nig. Ltd., Mr. Gbenga James, and some government officials linked with the project were questioned.
He said: “There was also a figure in one of the documents that was used to purchase a car for Fayose’s mother. In the documents was an acknowledgement by Mrs. Olujimi that she received 50,000 dollars.
“James was invited to comment on the documents and he confirmed that some funds were used to build Fayose’s house at Iyaganku in Ibadan. He also confirmed transferring N156 million for the purchase of a battery cage for his (James’) farm, which he claimed was an arrangement between him and Fayose.”
Madaki said investigation at the company’s office in Ibadan and the home of Mr. Wale, who is said to be Fayose’s close friend, showed how the money was diverted by the former governor through his wife, his former deputy, and other associates.
The witness said the company collected 15 per cent of the contract sum before the agreement was signed, adding that several disbursements to individuals were marked “PR”. He said Mrs. Olujimi confirmed receiving the money as “her share” during investigation.
He said N300 million was released for the poultry farm at Afao, but “the architect who designed the farm said he was given only N73 million for the project”.
Justice Hobon adjourned the hearing till today to allow the prosecution present more documents to support its case.