The alleged N2.2bn fraud trial of former Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose took a dramatic turn on Wednesday when one of the witnesses, a Lebanese, Joseph Mechleb, said he lied to the EFCC to help his friend.
Mechleb was one of the four witnesses that testified yesterday. The other two Lebanese were Goshen Joseph and Maroun Mechleb, working in Nigeria as building and construction engineers.
Mechleb, who prosecution fielded as number ten witness , is the Chief Executive Officer of a construction firm, Samchase Nigeria Limited in Akure, Ondo State.
While being led in evidence by the EFCC counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), Mechleb told the court that he had done various jobs for both the Federal Government and some states, including Ekiti State.
He said he did jobs for Ekiti State in 2006, 2014, 2015 and 2016 when Fayose was governor of the state.
Mechleb told the court that the jobs he did for Ekiti State were facilitated by Abiodun Agbele – an aide to Fayose. He said there was an agreement that he would “appreciate” Agbele for every contract he facilitated for Samchase Nigeria Limited.
Mechleb said though the “appreciation” was not specified, it was usually about 10 per cent of the contract sum.
The Lebanese, who told the court that he could neither write nor read English fluently, said the scope of the contracts was usually communicated verbally, saying, “We agreed that when he got jobs for me, I will appreciate him. We did not specify but it’s around 10 per cent.”
Mechleb told the court that he once lied to the EFCC about owning a property on Agbele’s instructions.
Justice Mojisola Olatoregun adjourned further proceedings to April 15.