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Fani-Kayode’s corruption trial enters last phase

Fani-Kayode’s corruption trial enters last phase
July 10
19:16 2014

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has closed its case against erstwhile minister of aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, who has been standing trial on an amended 40-count charge bordering on money laundering.

When the case was mentioned at a federal high court in Lagos on Thursday, the prosecution counsel, Mr Festus Keyamo, delivered a letter through Mr. Vitalis Ahaotu, informing the court of the closure of its case.

Defence counsel, Mr Wale Akoni (SAN), did not object to the letter by the prosecution. However, he notified 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 he ordered the prosecution to respond within seven days of receiving the process.

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

EFCC had opened its case on March 10 and called five witnesses to testify. These were the investigating police officers, bank legal officers, and a former aide to the accused.

Fani-Kayode was first arraigned before Justice Ramat Mohammed on a 47-count charge in December 2008, and he pleaded not guilty to the charge. Justice Mohammed granted him bail in the sum of N200m with two sureties in like sum.

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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 Feburary 11, 2013, following the transfer of Murtala-Nyako.

On March 6, Fani-Kayode was again arraigned before Ajumogobia – the third judge to sit over the case in the last five years –  after the amendment of the 47-count charge by the EFCC.

The commission has dropped seven of the counts.

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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 to the tune of N100m, during his tenures as minister of aviation and minister of culture and tourism.

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.

 

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