The Chief Judge(CJ) of the Federal High Court, Justice Adamu Abdu-Kafarati on Friday transferred the trial of Ayodele Fayose, former Governor of Ekiti State, who was charged with alleged N6.9 billion fraud, to a new judge.
Justice Abdu-Kafarati, transferred the case from the former judge, Justice Mojisola Olatoregun, to Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke.
The action, followed a petition by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), seeking a transfer of the case.
Fayose was arraigned on Oct. 22, 2018, by the EFCC, alongside a company, Spotless Investment Ltd, on 11 counts bordering on fraud and money laundering offence.
He had pleaded not guilty to the charge and was granted bail on Oct. 24, 2018, in the sum of N50 million with sureties in like sum, while the prosecution opened trial on Nov. 19, and had so far called 13 witnesses out of 15 listed.
On March 20, a drama ensued in court midway into the trial, between the trial judge, and EFCC counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs, SAN.
The judge raised concerns on the manner of prosecution by counsel, and had noted that the prosecutor was not doing a good job, adding that he was not competent to evaluate the court’s ruling.
On his part, the prosecutor expressed his displeasure on the grounds that he had always dispensed his duties diligently and had never been derogated by any court.
Meanwhile, at the last proceedings on May 10, the 13th prosecution witness, Mr Adewale Aladegbola, a former driver of a bullion van, had given evidences which the prosecutor described as being contrary to his extrajudicial statement to the commission.
On this premise, the prosecutor informed the court that his witness appeared “hostile” and urged the court to adjourn the case to enable him make necessary application on the situation.
Continuation of trial was billed to resume on June 10.
However, the CJ conveyed the transfer of the case from Justice Olatoregun to Justice Aneke, by a letter dated May 23, a copy of which was obtained by newsmen,NAN reports.
The CJ said: “I refer to the petition of EFCC on this case and your Lordship’s comments thereto.
“It is apparent that the prosecution has lost confidence in the judge trying this case and justice must not only be done but must be seen to have been done, I hereby transfer this case to Hon. Justice C. J. Aneke for hearing.”
A new date for the case before Aneke has however not been confirmed.
The matter will consequently begin afresh before the new judge, as the defendant will take his plea again.
During the trial before Olatoregun, the prosecution had called witnesses, from Zenith Bank, Diamond Bank, as well as a former Minister of State for Defence, Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro.