N4.9bn fraud: Fani-Kayode, others get N250m bail
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July 4, 2016 ( Post 1 )
A Federal High Court in Lagos has granted bail in the sum of N250m to a former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, who is being tried by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for an alleged fraud of N4.9bn.
Justice Muslim Hassan granted the bail with two sureties in like sum and ordered Fani-Kayode to deposit his passport in the custody of the court pending the outcome of the case.
The sureties, the court said, must be owners of landed properties within the court’s jurisdiction.
They were also to present evidence of tax clearance in the state.
Also admitted to bail in the same conditions were a former Minister of State for Finance, Nemandi Usman, and one Danjuma Yusuf, who were standing trial along with Fani-Kayode.
Joined as the 4th defendant in the charge was a company, Joint Trust Dimension Nigeria Limited.
The accused were on June 28, 2016 arraigned before Justice Hassan on 17 counts bordering on conspiracy, unlawful retention of proceeds of theft and money laundering.
Fani-Kayode, who was the spokesperson for former President Goodluck Jonathan’s campaign organisation in the 2015 general elections, was accused of conspiring with the others to directly and indirectly retain various sums which the EFCC claimed they ought to have reasonably known were proceeds of theft.
The accused persons were said to have allegedly committed the offences between January 8, 2015 and March 25, 2015 in the build-up to the general elections.
In one of the counts, the EFCC alleged that Fani-Kayode, who it listed as the 2nd defendant in the charge sheet, and his co-defendants conspired among themselves to “indirectly retain the sum of N1,500, 000,000.00, which sum you reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act to wit: stealing.”
The EFCC prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, had told the court that the said conspiracy and indirect retention of the N1.5bn constituted an offence under Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012, punishable under Section 15(3)( 4) of the same Act.
In another count, the EFCC alleged that Fani-Kayode “directly retained the sum of N350m,” which the anti-graft agency claimed that he ought to have “reasonably known formed part of proceeds of an unlawful act to wit: stealing.”
Fani-Kayode was accused of directly using parts of the money at various times, including between March 20 and 25, 2015, when he allegedly used N250,650,000.00 out of the money.
Fani-Kayode was also accused of making a cash transaction of N24m with one Olubode Oke, said to still be at large, on February 12, 2015 “to Paste Poster Co of 125, Lewis Street, Lagos Island.”
The duo were 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.
But the four defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The EFCC has, however, listed 17 witnesses it intends to call during trial to substantiate its allegations.
Justice Hassan adjourned till October 19, 2016 for the prosecution to open its case.
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