Court adjourns Fani-Kayode's trial to Mar 6

By The Citizen

A former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, standing trial on charges of money laundering is to be arraigned on March 6.

He is to be arraigned before Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia of the Federal High Court, Lagos.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Ofili-Ajumogobia on Feb. 10, upheld the submission of Mr Festus Keyamo, the Prosecuting Counsel.

Keyamo had filed an application, seeking court's permission to re-arraign Fani-Kayode on a fresh 40-count charge of money laundering.

But the Defence Counsel, Mr Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), while opposing Keyamo's application, said the court lacked competence to entertain the matter because the prosecution failed to disclose sources of the alleged laundered monies.

However, in her ruling, Ofili-Ajumogobia, upheld Kayemo's submission, saying that the failure of disclosure of the sources was not fatal to the case.

Ruling that the court was competent to adjudicate on the fresh 40-count charge against the accused, Ofili-Ajumogobia ordered the re-arraignment of Fani-Kayode on March 5.

At the resumed hearing of the case, the court adjourned the matter to March 6 at the instance of the prosecution.

NAN recalls that Fani-Kayode was first arraigned sometime in December, 2008 before Justice Ramat Mohammed on a 47-count charge.

He had pleaded not guilty to the charges and was granted bail in the sum of N200 Million with two sureties in like sum.

The former minister was again re-arraigned before Justice Binta Murtala-Nyako, after the transfer of Mohammed.

Ajumogobia is now the third judge to hear the case in the past five years, with the EFCC dropping seven counts from the original 47-count charge.

In the charge, the accused is alleged to have transacted funds exceeding N500,000 without undergoing due financial process.

The EFCC is also accusing Fani-kayode of receiving cash payments to the tune of about N100 million as Minister of Aviation and later Minister of Culture and Tourism.

The prosecution said the offence contravened the provisions of Sections 15(1) (a) (b) (c) (d) and 15 (2) (a) (b) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004.