Fani-Kayode For Re-Arraignment For Money Laundering
A Lagos Federal High Court on Monday, ordered the re-arraignment of former
Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, facing charges of money laundering.
Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, gave the order while ruling on an
application of objection filed by Fani-Kayode's Counsel, Mr Ifedayo
Adedipe (SAN), challenging the competence of the charges.
The prosecutor, Mr Festus Keyamo, on Jan. 27, filed an amended 40-count
charge bothering on money laundering against Fani-Kayode and urged the
court to order him take his plea.
Fani-Kayode was first arraigned on Feb. 11, 2013 on a 47-count charge of
Fani-Kayode had pleaded not guilty to the charge and was granted bail.
In the charge, the accused was alleged to have transacted funds exceeding
N500, 000 without going through due financial process.
The accused was also alleged to have accepted cash payments to the tune of
about N100 million while he was the Minister of Aviation and that of
Culture and Tourism, respectively.
The prosecutor told the court that 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.
But Adedipe objected to the amended charge preferred against his client.
He argued that the amended charge was invalid as it did not disclose the
identity of the source from whom the accused allegedly obtained the money.
He further submitted that his client was therefore not in a position to
take his plea in the matter and described the charge as “ incompetent”.
Ruling on the application on Monday, Ofili-Ajumogobia ordered the accused
to take his plea.
She held that it was an abject misconception on the part of the defence
counsel to have raised the objection in the first place.
“The charge against the accused is valid and hereby sustained.
“The objection raised by the defence counsel lacks merit and should not
have been raised in the first place.
“The accused is hereby directed to plead to the charge.”
The judge also agreed with the Prosecution's submission that the non
disclosure of the identity of the giver or receiver of the money was
immaterial and could not affect the validity of the charge.
She, therefore, adjourned the case to March 5 to enable the prosecutor
re-arraign the accused on the charge of money laundering. (NAN)