Fani-Kayode: EFCC presents 115 cheques as exhibits in ex-minister’s N4.9bn fraud case

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The trial of a former Minister of Aviation, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode over N4.9bn fraud, resumed on Wednesday with the prosecution tendering 115 cheques as exhibits against him and his co-defendants.

Fani-Kayode is being prosecuted in connection with the funding for the failed re-election bid of former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015.

He was arraigned alongside a former Minister of State for Finance, Nemadi Usman; one Danjuma Yusuf and a company, Joint Trust Dimensions Limited.

The four are answering 17 counts of  conspiracy, unlawful retention of proceeds of theft and money laundering before the Federal High Court in Lagos.

Fani-Kayode, who was the Director of Publicity of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s presidential campaign organisation for the 2015 election, was charged with conspiracy to hold huge amounts of  money which the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said are apparently proceeds of crime.

During the proceedings before Justice Rilwan Aikawa on Wednesday, the prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, sought to tender, through a witness, Shuaibu Shahu, a set of 115 Zenith Bank cheques, which were allegedly e used in illicit transactions.

However in response to the request of Fani-Kayode’s lawyer, Mr Norrison Quakers (SAN), for time to study the cheques, Justice Aikawa adjourned the case till Thursday (today).

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Shahu, an investigator with the EFCC, had earlier explained that his team discovered that the Ministry of External Affairs sometime in 2015 transferred N350m into the account of Joint Trust Dimensions Limited, with no trace of valid contract between them.

In one of the charges, Fani-Kayode and others were accused of conspiring among themselves to “indirectly retain the sum of N1,500,000,000.00 which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act to wit: stealing.”

The four were also accused of indirectly retaining N300m, N400m and N800m, all proceeds of corruption, according to the EFCC.

Fani-Kayode was specifically accused of directly using parts of the money at various times, including a N250,650,000.00, which he allegedly used between March 20 and 25, 2015.

He was also said to have moved N24m to one Olubode Oke, who owned a poster-printing firm on Lagos Island.

According to the EFCC, the defendants violated  sections 1(a) and 16(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012, and were liable to be punished under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act.

The accused have pleaded not guilty to all the charges preferred against them.

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