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Lawyer’s Absence Stalls Femi Fani-kayode’s ‘N5.9 Billion Fraud’ Trial

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Lawyer’s Absence Stalls Femi Fani-kayode’s ‘N5.9 Billion Fraud’ Trial

A Lagos Division of the Federal High Court on Thursday adjourned the trial of former aviation minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, due to the absence of one of the defence lawyers.

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Clement Onwuenwuenor, the lawyer representing Joint Trust Dimensions Limited, one of the defendants, had written to the court, seeking an adjournment.

The lawyer said he was appearing before the Court of Appeal in Lagos on the same day.

Rilwan Aikawa, the judge, granted the defence counsel’s request and adjourned the trial till February 24 and 25.

Mr Fani-Kayode, Nenadi Usman (a former minister of state for finance), Danjuma Yusuf and Joint Trust Dimensions Limited are facing a 17-count charge bordering on conspiracy, unlawful retention of proceeds of theft, and money laundering.

Mr Fani-Kayode, who was the Director of Publicity of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s presidential campaign organisation for the 2015 election, is accused of conspiring with the others to, directly and indirectly, retain funds which the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission claim they ought to have reasonably known were proceeds of crime.

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In one of the counts, the defendants are 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 are also accused of indirectly retaining N300m, N400m and N800m, all proceeds of corruption, according to the EFCC.

Mr Fani-Kayode is 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.

The ex-minister is also accused of making a cash transaction of N24 million with one Olubode Oke, said to be at large, on February 12, 2015 “to Paste Poster Co of 125, Lewis Street, Lagos Island.”

The duo was said to have made the transaction without going through any financial institution, an act the EFCC claimed was contrary to sections 1(a) and 16(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012, and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act.

The defendants pleaded not guilty.

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