A former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, was on Tuesday hauled up before a Federal High Court in Lagos for allegedly laundering N4.9 billion. Fani-Kayode, who served as the Director of Media and Publicity in the campaign organisation of former President Goodluck Jonathan, was arraigned alongside Nenadi Usman, ex-Minister of Finance. Also charged with Fani-Kayode were Danjuma Yusuf and a company — Joint Trust Dimension Nig. Ltd. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arraigned them on a 17-count charge bordering on unlawful retention, unlawful use and unlawful payment of money to the tune of N4.9 billion. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Fani-Kaoyde and others pleaded not guilty.
After their arraignment, the Prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, informed the court that he was prepared to proceed with the trial at any date of adjournment. Meanwhile, counsel to the first and second accused, Mr Ayo Adedipe (SAN) and Mr Fred Orbih, told the court that a bail application had been filed on behalf of the defendants. But counsel to the third accused, Mr S.I. Ameh, said he had yet to file a bail application. Responding, Oyedepo, informed the court that he had only been served with the application of the first and second accused, adding that he required time to reply. Justice Sule Hassan, in a short ruling, adjourned the case to July 1 for hearing of the bail applications. The judge, however, ordered that the defendants be remanded in prison custody pending determination of their bail application.
The accused were alleged to have committed the offences between January and March 2015. On counts one to seven, they were alleged to have unlawfully retained about N3.8 billion which they “reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act of stealing and corruption.’’ On counts eight to 14, the accused were alleged to have unlawfully used about N970 million which they “reasonably ought to have known formed part of an unlawful act of corruption.’’ Meanwhile, on counts 15 to17, Fani-Kayode, together with a man, Olubode Oke, still 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. Besides, Fani-Kayode, was alleged to have made payments to one Paste Poster Co. (PPC) of No. 125, Lewis St., Lagos, in excess of amounts allowed by law. The offences, according to the EFCC, contravene the provisions of Sections 15 (3), (4), 16 (2), (b) and 16 (5) of the Money Laundering (Prohibitions) (Amendment) Act, 2012.