EFCC set for retrial of Fani-Kayode over N4.6bn fraud

Ogunsakin Mustapha
5 Min Read
Femi Fani-Kayode

Following the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division which quashed the charges of alleged misappropriation of N4.6 billion, and money laundering brought against former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, alongside a former Minister of Finance, Mrs. Nenadi Usman and others, a Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos, and presided over by Justice Daniel Osiagor, on Tuesday ordered the release of all exhibits and documents to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for the retrial scheduled to take place at an Abuja court.

The Court of Appeal had on the April 20 quashed the charges against the defendants on the ground of jurisdiction. But ordered the prosecution to retry them at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), where the offences was committed.

At the resumed resume of hearing on Tuesday EFCC Prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN) who led Bilikisu Buhari-Bala, S. Sulaiman, told the court that in view of the judgement of the Court of Appeal, all exhibits and documents tendered by the prosecution should be released to enable the Commission commence the matter afresh at the Federal High Court Abuja.

It would be recalled that, Justice Mohammed Aikawa of the Federal High Court in Lagos had on September 25, 2017, dismissed an application by Femi Fani-kayode, and Nenadi Usman, challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the case. Dissatisfied, the defendants challenged the ruling at the Court of Appeal Lagos, Division and urged the court to quash the charge filed against them.

Seven years after, the Lagos division of the Court of Appeal, with the defendants’ Counsel led by Mr. Norrison Quakers (SAN) and held that the Lagos division of the Federal High Court, lacked jurisdiction to adjudicate on the matter.

The appellate court held that the facts of the case showed that all the transactions carried out by the defendants took place in Abuja, hence the Federal High Court Abuja has jurisdiction to hear the case.

Fani-Kayode alongside a former Minister of State for Finance Nenandi Usman; a former Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) Yusuf Danjuma, and a firm, Jointrust Dimensions Nigeria Limited are be included in the charges.

The EFCC had earlier preferred a 17-count charge of N4.6 billion in 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 (de novo).
In the charge, the defendants were alleged to have committed the offences between January and March 2015 in Lagos.

They were 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 in excess of 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, 2012.0

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