Judge’s Absence Stalls Arraignment of Fani-Kayode, Two Others


Davidson Iriekpen

The absence of Justice Sule Hassan of the Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday stalled the arraignment of a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, for money laundering.

Fani-Kayode, who was also the Director of Media and Publicity of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign Organisation, is charged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), alongside three others.
Others charged are: Nenandi Usman, Danjuma Yusuf and a company, Joint Trust Dimension Nig. Limited.
The EFCC had preferred a 17-count charge against the accused persons bordering on unlawful retention, use and payment of money to the tune of about N4.9 billion.

The case, which was fixed for arraignment of the accused persons yesterday, was stalled following the absence of the trial judge, who is said to be attending an official function.
The accused were however, present in the court, but had to be taken back to the EFCC’s custody, following the judge’s absence.

A new adjourned date, a new date, it was learnt, would be communicated to parties.
In the charge, the accused were alleged to have committed the offences between January and March 2015.
In counts one to seven, they were alleged to have unlawfully retained over N3.8 billion which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act of stealing and corruption.

In counts eight to 14, the accused were alleged to have unlawfully used over N970 million which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of an unlawful act of corruption.
Meanwhile in counts 15 to17 Fani-Kayode, together with one Olubode Oke who is said to now be at large, were alleged to have made cash payments of about N30 million, in excess of the amount allowed by law, without going through a financial institution.

Besides, Fani-Kayode was alleged to have made payments to one Paste Poster Co (PPC) of No 125 Lewis Street, Lagos, in excess of amounts allowed by law.
All offences were said to have contravened the provisions of sections 15 (3) (4), 16 (2) (b), and 16 (5) of the Money laundering (prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012.