Alleged money laundering: EFCC increases charges against Fayose’s ally, Agbele



The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) has increased the alleged money laundering charge preferred against Abiodun Agbele, an ally of the former Ekiti Governor, Ayodele Fayose from 11-counts to 24-counts.

The EFCC had in 2016 arraigned Agbele, and five others at the Federal High Court, Abuja on an 11-count charge bordering money laundering to the tune of N1. 2 billion.

The money was said to be part of N4.7 billion allegedly transferred from an account belonging to the Office of the National Security Adviser, (NSA) in the Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN).

In the amended charge, Agbele, Sylvan Mcnamara Limited, De Privateer Ltd, and Spotless Investment Limited were listed as the first to fourth defendants.

The EFCC accused Agbele of indirectly accepting N1.2 billion cash through an official of Zenith Bank in Akure from Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro on behalf of Ayo Fayose in June 2014 without going through a financial institution.

The anti-graft agency said the offence was contrary to Section 1(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011(As Amended) and punishable under the same act.

The agency also accused Agbele of aiding De Privateer to commit an offence by taking possession of N200 million which formed part of N1.2 billion, a proceed of money laundering on behalf of Ayo Fayose contrary to Section Section 18(A) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 18 of the same act.

When the fresh charges were read to Agbele on Tuesday, he maintained his earlier not guilty plea.

Meanwhile, Mr Aliyu Mukadas, a former staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN) and a prosecution witness in the case, in his testimony told the court that the apex bank paid a total sum of N4.15 billion to Sylvan Mcnamara Limited.

Mukadas, while being led in evidence by counsel to the EFCC, Mr Wahab Shittu, SAN narrated how the money was paid in tranches to Sylvan Mcnamara Limited.

He told the court that the money was paid through the company’s Diamond Bank account.

The witness confirmed that the National Security Adviser, (NSA) maintained an account with the CBN meant to fund security operations and not elections.

“We effected payments to all ministry or departments. The office of NSA is one of the agencies that has an account with the CBN.

“The purpose of the NSA account is for security operations, not for election purposes.

“We paid N200 million to Sylvan McNamara Limited through Diamond Bank.

“We also paid N2 billion, N700 million, N1 billion and N225 million into Sylvan McNamara Limited,” the witness told the court.

When asked if he knew what the money was used for, Mukadas who said he worked with CBN for 30 years at its Abuja branch and banking services department where he retired in 2023 said he was not aware.

During cross-examination by Agbele’s counsel, Mr Lekan Ojo, SAN, the witness confirmed that the payment mandate was verified before the payments were made.

When asked if the payment mandate showed the purpose for which the funds were to be paid to the company he said it was for ” services rendered.”

He added that he had no suspicion that the money was for fraudulent purposes.

Testifying earlier, former Chief Executive Officer of Zenith Bank, Mr Peter Amagbo denied that the bank funded Gov. Ayo Fayose’s re-election campaign.

“We did not fund election for Ekiti.

I have never seen Agbele before. I met Fayose once as MD/CEO. My second meeting with him was as ex-governor during a friend’s father’s funeral,” the witness said.

According to Amagbo, the Bank had a business relationship with Ekiti even before Fayose became governor of the state and the relationship was maintained during his tenure.

When asked if he knew whether the bank had promised to assist Fayose’s re-election campaign, he said that as the head of the management of the bank, his approval was needed for that and the chairman knew that the bank did not sponsor elections.

The trial judge, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba adjourned further hearing in the matter until May 2.

NAN reports that some of the fresh charges read,” That you Abiodun Agbele on or about June 16, 2014 in Akure within the jurisdiction of this court, indirectly accepted cash in the sum N1.2 billion through officials of Zenith Bank, Akure Branch from one Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro, on behalf of one Ayo Fayose without going through a financial institution and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(a) of Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011(As Amended) and punishable under Section 1503) of the same Act.

“That you Sylvan Mcnamara Ltd on or about June 16, 2014 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this court aided Abiodun Agbele, and Spotless Investment Limited by deploying Sylvan McNamara Limited Diamond Bank Account No. 0026223714 domiciled in Diamond Bank, Lagos, to commit an offence, to wit:

” Money laundering of N1.2 billion in cash which sum formed part of the funds transferred from the office of the National Security Adviser’s account domiciled in Central Bank of Nigeria into Sylvan McNamara Limited’s Diamond Bank Account No. 0026223714 domiciled in Diamond Bank, Lagos, on behalf of one Ayodele Fayose contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011(as amended) and punishable under Section 17(b) of the same.”(NAN)


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