Fani-Kayode’s N4.6 billion money laundering trial stalled at Lagos court

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The trial of former Aviation minister Femi Fani-Kayode and others at the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court did not hold as scheduled on Wednesday following the absence of the prosecution and defence counsels.

Mr Fani-Kayode, alongside a former finance minister Nenadi Usman; Yusuf Danjuma, a former chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) and a company, Jointrust Dimensions Nigeria Ltd., are standing trial for money laundering

The case being prosecuted by anti-graft agency EFCC was initially fixed for continuation of hearing but could not proceed as the prosecution and defence counsel were said to be appearing at the court of appeal.

EFCC filed a 17-count charge bordering on N4.6 billion money laundering against the defendants before a former judge, Mohammed Aikawa.

The defendants had each pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bail.

Witnesses had begun their testimony before Justice Aikawa was transferred out of the Lagos division.

The charge was, consequently, re-assigned to a new judge, Daniel Osaigor, and they were re-arraigned on January 24, 2022.

The trial has since commenced in the case, and witnesses are still giving evidence before the court.

Although the defendants were present in court on Wednesday, alongside some junior counsel from the office of defence counsel, the continuation of the trial will, however, resume on January 26.

In the charge, the defendants were alleged to have committed the offences between January and March 2015 in Lagos.

At various times, they were alleged to have unlawfully retained over N4.6 billion, which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of unlawful acts of stealing and corruption.

Meanwhile, in counts 15 to 17, Mr Fani-Kayode and Olubode Oke, who is said to be at large, were alleged to have made cash payments of about N30 million, in excess of the amount allowed by law, without going through a financial institution.

The said payments are alleged to have been made to Paste Poster Co (PPC) of No 125 Lewis St., Lagos, above the amounts allowed by law.

All offences were said to have contravened sections 15 (3) (4), 16 (2) (b), and 16 (5) of the Money laundering (prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012.  (NAN)