The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Friday told a Federal High Court in Lagos that former Gov. Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti, facing N6.9 billion fraud before the court, was being investigated for other matters.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Fayose was billed for re-arraignment before Justice Aneke on Friday, but EFCC counsel, Mr S.A. Obafemi, prayed the court to adjourn the case, saying that the commission was still investigating the defendant for other matters.
According to the counsel, there are no clear directive from the commission on the steps to take.
“The matter is coming up for the first time before this court, and the information we gathered from our client, EFCC, is that the first defendant (Fayose) is still being investigated for other matters.
“The arraignment will not be possible this morning as we are yet to hear from the complainant on further steps to be taken,” he said.
According to Obafemi, the main prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), was absent in court as a result of the situation.
He urged the court to adjourn the case.
Responding, defence counsel, Messrs Ola Olanipekun (SAN) and Olalekan Ojo (SAN) opposed, the request for adjournment.
According to defence, there must be an end to litigation as the charge cannot lie before the court in perpetuity.
It said that the commission began investigation of the defendant even before the expiration of his tenure as governor.
Ojo said: “The prosecutor has cited no law to back up this strange proposition of having this arraignment postponed just because the prosecution is investigating the defendant for other cases.
“The court has a mandatory duty to prevent persecution of any criminal defendant, as this is the only way the integrity of the criminal justice system can be guaranteed,” he said.
He urged the court to order that the charge should be read over to Fayose.
In a ruling, the judge frowned at the request for adjournment on the grounds that the case was transferred to the court and was slated for re-arraignment.
The judge, however, said that since it was not the main prosecutor (Jacobs) who appeared in the case, he would grant an adjournment in the interest of justice.
He adjourned the case until July 2 for re-arraignment of Fayose.
NAN reports that the EFCC charged Fayose alongside a company, Spotless Investment Ltd., on 11 counts bordering on N6.9 million fraud and money laundering.
The former governor was first arraigned on Oct. 22. 2018, before Justice Mojisola Olatotegun,
He pleaded not guilty, and was granted bail on Oct. 24, 2018, in the sum of N50 million with two sureties in like sum.