Why Fani-Kayode’s N4.6bn money laundering trial stalled

Due to the absence of prosecution and defense counsel, the trial of former Aviation Minister Femi Fani-Kayode and others over alleged N4.6bn money laundering could not continue on Wednesday.

The court had set January 25 as the last adjourned date for the continuation of the trial, but the matter could not proceed because the prosecution and defense counsels were both appearing at the court of appeals.

Fani-Kayode is on trial with Nenandi Usman, a former Minister of State for Finance; Yusuf Danjuma, a former Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria; and Jointrust Dimentions Nigeria Limited.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had filed a 17-count charge against them before Justice Mohammed Aikawa, alleging money laundering.

When the defendants were first arraigned before Justice Aikawa, they pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bail.

However, after the trial began, Justice Aikawa was transferred out of the Lagos division.

Following Aikawa's transfer, the case was reassigned to a new judge, Justice Daniel Osaigor, and they were re-arraigned on January 24, 2022.

The case has since gone to trial, and witnesses are still testifying in front of the judge.

When the case was called, the defendants were present in court, along with some junior counsel from the defense counsel's office.

The case was postponed until January 26.

The defendants were accused of committing the crimes in Lagos between January and March of 2015.

The EFCC claimed that the defendants unlawfully retained over N4.6 billion at various times, money they should have known was part of the proceeds of illegal stealing and corruption.

The Commission also claimed that in counts 15 to 17, Fani-Kayode and one Olubode Oke, who is said to be at large, made cash payments totaling N30 million that exceeded the legal limit without going through a financial institution.

The alleged payments were made to one Paste Poster Co (PPC) of No 125 Lewis Street, Lagos, in excess of the amounts allowed by law.

The offence committed, according to the EFCC, violated Sections 15 (3) (4), 16 (2) (b), and 16 (5) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012.

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