The Federal High Court Abuja will begin the N4.6 billion money laundering charge against Gov. Ayodele Fayose’s aide, Abiodun Agbele, today Oct. 27.

Agbele along with Sylvan Mcnamara Ltd, De Privateer Ltd and Spotless Investment Ltd are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

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The EFCC had presented a new counsel, Wahab Shittu, which the defendant’s counsel, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), objected to. Johnson Ojogbane had been appearing in the matter for the prosecution before the EFCC replaced him with Wahab Shittu.

Ozekhome argued that the prosecution ought to have notified the court and also the defense of the change of counsel as stipulated by the law. Ozekhome argued that there must be certainty in law and in appearance of counsel.

The judge, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, held that there was no sufficient reasons by the defense to stop the commencement of trial on appearance of new counsel. He ruled that it was only the state that could challenge Shittu’s appearance in the matter.

Agbele’s international passport

The defence counsel also told the court that the EFCC has refused to release the International Passport of the defendant.

Dimgba had ordered the anti-graft agency to deposit Agbele’s travel documents with the court registrar. This was part of the conditions for the N500 million bail Agbele got on August 4th.

The judge, therefore, appealed to the prosecuting counsel to talk to the EFCC to release the defendant’s passport to the registrar of the court.

He said this would enable the court to make it available to the defendant. This will only be possible after the defendant satisfies the court on the need to travel outside the country.

At the resumed sitting on Wednesday, Shittu told the court that the matter was slated for trial and that his three witnesses were present in court.

Shittu said all the witnesses were Zenith Bank officials. He also claimed that they had traveled all the way from Akure in order to attend the proceeding. He therefore sought the leave of the court to call them.

NAN