Alleged N4.6bn Fraud: Court Imposes N200, 000 Fine on Fani-Kayode, Threatens to Revoke Bail…

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Fani-Kayode

Justice Daniel Osiagor of the Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday imposed a N200, 000 fine on former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, for his absence in court to take his plea on an alleged N4.6 billion fraud case.

Newsonspot blog reports that the former minister is being prosecuted in court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) along with a former Minister of Finance, Mrs. Nenadi Esther Usman, and a former Chairman of ALGON, Danjuma Yusuf, as well as a limited liability company, Jointrust Dimensions Nigeria Limited.

The defendants’ prosecution had commenced in 2016 before Justice Sule Muslim Hassan, who has been elevated to the Court of Appeal.
Midway to their trial before Justice Sule Hassan, the defendants’ case file was transferred to Justice Rilwan Aikawa on the ground that Justice Hassan was formerly a legal officer with the prosecuting agency (EFCC).

However, while the matter was pending before Justice Aikawa, the defendants’ pleas were retaken.

Again, shortly after the defendants’ trial commenced, Justice Aikawa was transferred to another jurisdiction of the court, hence their case file was transferred to the new Judge, Justice Osiagor, for the trial to commence afresh.

At the resumed hearing of the matter yesterday, the prosecutor, Mrs. Bilikisu Buhari, informed the court that the matter was to start afresh, but Femi Fani-Kayode, who is the second defendant, was not in court to take his plea.

The prosecutor, therefore, urged the court to revoke Fani-Kayode’s bail.

However, Fani-Kayode’s counsel, F. B. Ajudua, pleaded with the court not to revoke his bail, saying a letter has been written on behalf of his client that he is currently on ‘bed rest’ at Kubwa General Hospital in Abuja.
Ajudua stated that Fani-Kayode has been attending his trial since the matter commenced in 2016, and that today was the only day that he was not in court.

The counsel urged the court not to revoke Fani-Kayode’s bail, and pleaded for a short adjournment.
But the trial Judge, upon perusing the court’s records, discovered that Fani-Kayode had been absent from court five times, a development which the Judge said has stalled the smooth hearing of the trial.

Justice Osiagor, therefore, gave two options of either to revoke his bail or a fine of N200, 000, but Fani-Kayode’s lawyer opted for the option of a fine.

Consequently, Justice Osiagor imposed N200, 000 fine, which must be paid before the next adjourned date.

The matter was adjourned till November 30, 2021, for the defendants’ arraignment.

The EFCC in a charge marked FHC/L/C/251c/2016 alleged that the accused persons, former Minister of Finance, Usman, in President Goodluck Jonathan administration; Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode, who was also the Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation; Danjuma Yusuf, and the limited liability company, Jointrust Dimensions Nigeria Limited, had on or before January 2015 unlawfully retained the total sum of N4. 6 billion, which they knew to have been a proceed from an unlawful act.

While the former state Minister for Finance, Yusuf, and Jointrust Dimensions Nigeria Limited retained the sum of N1.5 billion, Femi Fani-Kayode and Olubode Oke, said to be at large, were alleged to have retained the total sum of N1, 650, 650 billion.

The accused persons were also alleged to have made payment of several amounts running to billions of naira without going through financial institutions.

The offences, according to the anti-graft agency, are contrary to Sections 1(a), Section 15(2)(d), 16(d), 18(a), 16(d) 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3), 16(2)(b) and 4 of the same Act.

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