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Court ‘clears’ Fani-Kayode of money laundering charges

A Federal High Court in Lagos has partially cleared a former aviation minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, of money laundering charges brought against him by the government.

Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia of Lagos Federal High Court, on Monday, discharged and acquitted Mr. Fani-Kayode of 38 out of 40 counts of N100m money laundering charges.

The court said Mr. Fani-Kayode now faces the remaining two counts and could enter defence for them. The court adjourned till December 8.

Mr. Fani-Kayode is prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

At the resumed hearing last Monday, the defence counsel, Ifedayo Adedipe, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, informed the court of an application for a no-case submission filed on behalf of the former minister.

Mr. Adedipe said he had also filed a reply on points of law in response to the issues raised by the prosecution in their processes.

In response, the prosecutor, Festus Keyamo, urged the court to uphold his written submissions in opposition to the no case submission, and called on the accused to enter his defence.

After listening to the submissions of counsel, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, adjourned the case till Nov. 17, for ruling.

The EFCC had opened its case on March 10.

It called a total of six witnesses including Investigating Police Officers, a bank legal officer, relationship officer and a former aide to Fani-Kayode.

All witnesses had given various testimonies about their relationship with the former minister, as well as the manner of investigations conducted on him.

The EFCC closed its case on July 10, while defence counsel filed a no case submission on behalf of the accused on August 5.

Mr. Fani-Kayode was first arraigned 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.

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

The former minister was again re-arraigned before Justice Ajumogobia on Feb. 11, 2013, after the transfer of Murtala-Nyako.

He was again re-arraigned before Ajumogobia on March 6, following the amendment of the 47-count charge to 40 counts, the EFCC having dropped seven of the counts.

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

He was accused of accepting cash payments to the tune of about N100 million, while he was Minister of Aviation and Minister of Culture and Tourism respectively.

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