The N4.9bn fraud trial of a former Minister of Aviation, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode, resumed on Wednesday with the prosecution tendering 115 cheques as exhibits against him and his co-defendants.
Fani-Kayode is standing trial in connection with the funding for the failed re-election bid of former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015.
He is being prosecuted alongside a former Minister of State for Finance, Nenadi 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 accused of conspiring with the others to, directly and indirectly, retain various sums, which the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission claimed they ought to have reasonably known were proceeds of crime.
At the Wednesday proceedings before Justice Rilwan Aikawa, 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 the EFCC claimed were used in illicit transactions.
Fani-Kayode’s lawyer, Mr Norrison Quakers (SAN), however, said he needed time to study the cheques to decide whether or not to oppose their admissibility.
Justice Aikawa, as a result, adjourned the case till Thursday (today).
Earlier in his testimony on Wednesday, Shahu, an investigator with the EFCC, told the court his team discovered that the Ministry of External Affairs sometime in 2015 transferred N350m into the account of Joint Trust Dimensions Limited.
The investigator said there was no trace of any contract between the external affairs ministry and the firm to warrant the payment of the money.
In one of the counts, 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 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.
Fani-Kayode was also accused of making a cash transaction of N24m with one Olubode Oke, who owned a poster-printing firm on Lagos Island.
The EFCC said 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.
But the accused have pleaded not guilty.
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