Alleged N4.9bn fraud: Judge’s absence stalls trial of Fani-Kayode, others

The absence of Justice Daniel Osiagor, on Monday, stalled the money laundering trial of a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode before a Federal High Court in Lagos.

Fani-Kayode is charged alongside a former Minister of State for Finance, Nenandi Usman, and Yusuf Danjuma, a former Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON).

Also charged is a company, Jointrust Dimentions Nigeria Ltd.

The case which was listed for cross examination on Monday, could not proceed because of the absence of the trial Judge, Justice Osiagor, said to be on another official assignment.

Parties in the case are  expected to meet and agree on a  new date.

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EFCC had preferred a 17-count charge bordering on N4.6 billion money laundering against the defendants before a former judge, Justice Mohammed Aikawa.

The defendants had each pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bails.

Trial had began before Justice Aikawa and witnesses were still being led in evidence, until Aikawa was transferred out of the Lagos division.

The defendants were consequently re-arraigned before a new judge, Justice Osaigor, on Jan. 24.

Trial has since began in the case while witnesses are still being led in evidence before the court.

In the charge, the defendants were alleged to have committed the offences between January and March 2015 in Lagos.

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They were alleged to have at various times, unlawfully retained over N4.6 billion which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful acts of stealing and corruption.

Meanwhile in counts 15 to17 Fani-Kayode and one Olubode Oke, who is said to be at large, allegedly made cash payments of about N30 million, in excess of the amount allowed by law, without going through a financial institution.

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

The aniti-graft agency said the offence contravened the provisions of sections 15 (3) (4), 16 (2) (b), and 16 (5) of the Money laundering (prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012. (NAN)

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