July 10, 2014

EFCC closes case in trial of Fani-Kayode over alleged money laundering

Fani Kayode

Femi Fani-Kayode

Lagos – The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday closed its case in the trial of Femi Fani-Kayode, charged with money laundering, while serving as Minister of Aviation .

Fani-Kayode, a former Minister of Aviation, is standing trial on an amended 40-count charge bordering on money laundering, before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.

When the case was mentioned on Thursday, the prosecution counsel, Mr Festus Keyamo, through a letter delivered by Mr Vitalis Ahaotu, informed the court of the closure of its case.

The defence counsel, Mr Wale Akoni (SAN), did not object to the letter by the Prosecution.

He, however, informed the court of his intention to file a no-case submission to the charges against his client.

Consequently, Justice Rita-Ofili Ajumogobia gave the defence 21 days within which to file their application before the court and ordered the prosecution to respond within seven days, on receipt of the process.

She adjourned the case till Oct. 28 for adoption of final written addresses.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the EFCC had opened its case on March 10 and called five witnesses to testify.

Among the witnesses were the Investigating Police Officers, bank legal officers, and a former aide to Fani-Kayode.

NAN recalls that Fani-Kayode was first arraigned sometime in December 2008 before Justice Ramat Mohammed on a 47-count charge.

He had pleaded not guilty to the charge and Justice Mohammed had granted him bail in the sum of N200 Million, with two sureties in like sum.

However, the former minister was re-arraigned before Justice Binta Murtala-Nyako, following the transfer of Mohammed from the Lagos Division.

The accused was again re-arraigned before Ajumogobia on Feb. 11, 2013, following the transfer of Murtala-Nyako.

On March 6, Fani-Kayode was again arraigned before Ajumogobia, following the amendment of the 47-count charge by the EFCC.

The commission had dropped seven of the counts.

Ajumogobia is the third judge to sit over the case in the last five years.

In the charge, the former minister was alleged to have transacted business with funds exceeding N500, 000 without going through a financial institution.

The accused was also alleged to have accepted cash payments in the tune of about N100 million, while he held sway as Minister of Aviation and Minister of Culture and Tourism, respectively.

The offences contravene the provisions of Sections 15(1) (a) (b) (c) (d) and 15 (2) (a) (b) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004. (NAN)