The money laundering trial of the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ondo State, Clement Faboyede, began on Friday with the first prosecution witness narrating to the court how the politician allegedly took delivery of a cash sum of N500m some days to the 2015 general elections.
Faboyede, alongside the Ondo State Coordinator of President Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation in 2015, Modupe Adetokunbo, is facing three counts of money laundering before the Federal High Court in Lagos.
They were arraigned in June 2018 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The trial opened on Friday with the manager of a branch of Fidelity Bank in Akure, the Ondo State capital, Michael Owolanke, testifying against the defendants.
Led in evidence by the EFCC lawyer, Ekene Iheanacho, Owolanke told the court that on the instructions of one of his superiors he released N500m to Faboyede and Adetokunbo on March 27, 2015 on the bank premises.
He said, “When the defendants came (to the bank), I put a call back to Martin, telling him that Engineer Faboyede and Mr Modupe Adetokunbo were around to pick up the cash.
“He (Martin) said I should go ahead (to pay them). I got their means of identification and prepared a receipt for them to acknowledge that the money had been handed over to them intact.
“I took them to where the money was kept at the bullion bay; they confirmed the sum of N500m packed in Ghana-must-go bags and evacuated the money into two Hilux vehicles and drove away.”
Through the witness, the prosecutor tendered the defendants’ means of identification submitted to the bank and the receipt issued for the N500m payment as exhibits and the court admitted same in evidence against the defendants.
Responding to further questions from the prosecutor, the witness said the receipt issued to the defendants for the payment of N500m did not have the logo of the bank.
Asked why this was so, Owolanke said, “For the purpose of this transaction, there is no logo of the bank on the receipt because they (the defendants) are not customers of the bank.”
He added that the N500m payment was not documented and could not be found in the record of the bank.
Justice Saliu Saidu adjourned the case till April 4 for continuation of trial.
But Faboyede and Adetokunbo have pleaded not guilty to the charges.