By Kenneth AtavtiABUJA Division of the Federal
High Court yesterday fixed
April 25 to commence full-blown
hearing on the five-count charge
the Economic and Financial
Crimes Commission, EFCC,
preferred against former Minister
of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-
Kayode.
Fani-Kayode, who was the
director of Media and Publicity
in the campaign team of former
President Goodluck Jonathan
during the 2015 election, is facing
trial over alleged N26 million
fraud.
He was accused of illegally
receiving N26million from the
detained former National Security
Adviser, NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki
(rtd) before the election to organise
media campaign for Jonathan.
EFCC maintained the he
committed an offence contrary
to section 17(b) of the Money
Laundering (Prohibition) Act,
2011, as amended in 2012 and
punishable under Section 17(b) of
the same Act.
Meanwhile, the trial could not
commence yesterday as scheduled,
owing to the inability of the EFCC
to produce its witnesses in court.
EFCC lawyer, Mr. Johnson
Ojogbane told the court that he
had earlier prepared the witnesses
for the proceeding, but did not
know why the witnesses were not
in court as proposed.
“My lord I really don’t know
why the witnesses are not here
in spite of the fact that they were
duly notified of the trial, but I don’t
want to speculate.
“In the circumstance, I shall be
applying for a short adjournment
to enable the prosecution to
produce the witnesses,” Ojogbane
added.
Following the development,
Justice John Tsoho deferred
commencement of the trial till
April 25.
The trial court had earlier
granted the defendant who spent
24 days in detention bail to the
tune of N50million with one surety
in like sum.
Fani-Kayode is also answering
to another 17-count money
laundering charge before the
Lagos Division of the high court,
along with a former Minister of
Finance, Nenadi Usman, Danjuma
Yusuf and a firm, Joint Trust
Dimension Nig. Ltd.
The defendants were in that
case charged with unlawful
retention, unlawful use and
unlawful payment of money to
the tune of N4.9billion.
However, in the instant
charge marked FHC/ABJ/
CR/140/2016, Fani-Kayode was
cited as the sole defendant.
The former minister had earlier
denied media reports that he
begged the federal government
to allow him to refund the
N26million in dispute in an outof-
court settlement deal.
While refuting the report,
Fani-Kayode said he would
never engage in a plea bargain
arrangement over charges he
pleaded not guilty to.challenging the jurisdiction of the
court.
Shortly after the case was called
yesterday, the lead prosecuting
counsel, Mr A. K Alilu urged the
judge to direct the charges to be
read to the accused persons.
But in response, lawyer to 20 of
the defendants, Mr Ahmed Raji
(SAN) said he had filed a motion
dated March 13, 2017, challenging
the territorial jurisdiction of the
court.
He said the actions being
complained of having taken place
in Rivers State, the court in Abuja
lacked territorial jurisdiction to
entertain the case.
Raji said, “We have a motion
dated March 13, 2017, challenging
the territorial jurisdiction of
this court. All the acts being
complained about took place in
Rivers State.
“None of the defendants is
resident here. This is a motion
that should be resolved one way
or the other.
“We urge your lordship to stay
the issue of plea pending the
resolution of this motion. Then
if my lord affirms the territorial
integrity of the court, we can go
on with the trial.”
Two other defence lawyers also
told the court that they intended
to file similar application.
Alilu also indicated that
he intended to oppose the
application.
The judge then directed that
the prosecution should file its
objection to the already filed
application and others that might
be filed later, he fixed April 7 for
hearing of the motions.
The accused persons named in
the charges marked FHC/ABJ/
CR/42/2017 were said to include
three state coordinators of the
electoral body.
The prosecution in the charges
alleged that the N360million
bribe which the 23 defendants
allegedly received from Wike
represented proceeds of the
governor’s criminal conduct as
well as economic and financial
crimes.
The 23 INEC officials allegedly
between December 7 and 10, 2016converted , concealed, were in
possession and used” the sum of
N 360million bribe in violations
of various provisions of the
Money Laundering (Prohibition)
Act, 2011, and Economic and
Financial Crimes (Establishment,
etc ) Act, 2004.
The accused include Shittu
Mohammed Lamido (Shettima),
Henry Owokure, Peter Ewetade,
Mrs Mary Jummai Tunkoyo
Pennap, Gwatana Jibril, Ivase
Stephen and Abdullahi Ogabo.
Also named as part of the
defendants were Gayus Hassan,
Hussaini T. Yahaya, James
Ogwuche, Karimu F. Aminu and
Adedokun Najeem Ayotunde.
The defendants also included
Balogun Funmilayo and Adams
O. Kadiri, Akinwande R. Adesoji,
Lukeman Olabimpe and Tiamiyu
R. Arowolo.
The rest were Akinwoye
Amodu, Nwoha Yusuf, Patrick
Anuke, Iro Abali, Nwosu G.
Oluchi and Arukwe Chinelo.
In Count 1, the prosecution
alleged that the defendants “all
electoral officers and staff of the
Independent National Electoral
Commission, between December
7 to 10, 2016, at Port Harcourt,
Rivers State, did conspire to
convert the sum of N360, 000,
000 directly from bribery and
corruption in connection with
the Rivers State re-run election
which took place on December
10, 2016.”
In Count 2, the prosecution
alleged that the accused persons,
2 “did convert the sum of N360,
000, 000 being money derived
directly from bribery and
corruption in connection with the
Rivers State rerun election which
took place on December 10, 2016,
with the aim of concealing the
illicit origin of the money.”
In Count 3, it was alleged
that the accused persons “did
collaborate to conceal the sum
of N 360, 000, 000 being money
derived directly from bribery
and corruption in connection
with the Rivers State rerun
election which took place on
December 10, 2016.”
Count 4 alleged that the
defendants “all electoral officers
and staff of the Independent
National Electoral Commission,
between December 7 and 10,
2016, at Port Harcourt, Rivers
State, “did commit an offence
to wit: possession of the sum
of N 360, 000, 000 being money
you received from Governor
Ezenwo Nyesom Wike of Rivers
State, knowing that the said
money represented proceeds
of bribery and corruption in
connection with the Rivers
State re-run election which took
place on December 10, 2016


loading...
SHARE