Crime/DefenseLegal/Judiciary

Money laundering: Criminal charges against Fani-Kayode amended

By Francis IWUCHUKWU

The former minister for aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode was on Monday re-arraigned on an amended 17-count charge of money laundering.

He was re-arraigned before Justice Daniel Osiagor of a Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), alongside a former minister of state for finance, Nenadi Usman.

Also, charged is Yusuf Danjuma, a former Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) and Jointrust Dimensions Nigeria Ltd.

It would be recalled that the anti-graft agency had earlier preferred a 17-count charge of N4.6 billion money laundering against the defendants before the former trial judge, Justice Mohammed Aikawa.

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

Hearing of the case had begun before Justice Aikawa and witnesses were being led in evidence before the trial judge was transferred out of the Lagos division.

The case was consequently assigned to a new judge, Justice Daniel Osiagor, and the defendants had to start the case from the beginning.

On Monday, the amended 17-count charge was read over to the defendants and they each pleaded not guilty to the charge

After pleas were taken, the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, prayed the court for a trial date.

The Defence counsel, Chief Ferdinard Orbih (SAN), however, urged the court to allow the defendants to continue on the existing bail conditions granted by the former trial judge.

In a short ruling, the court allowed the defendants to continue on their existing bail conditions.

He adjourned the case until March 11, 2022, for trial.

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

They were further alleged to have at various times, 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.

In counts 15 to17, Fani-Kayode and one Olubode Oke, who is said to be at large, were alleged to have made cash payments of about N30 million to one Paste Poster Co (PPC) of No 125 Lewis St., Lagos.

The said payments were alleged to have been made more than amounts allowed by law without going through a financial institution.

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

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