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Fani Kayode, Others Re-Arraigned Over Alleged N4.6 Billion Money Laundering

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A prosecution witness, Mr Shehu Shuaibu, Tuesday, told a Federal High Court in Lagos that the sum of N800 million was paid from the Ministry of External Affairs into the account of a company Jointrust Dimension Ltd.

The witness, an investigator with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), gave the evidence at the resumed trial of former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode and others facing N4.6 billion money laundering charge.

Also charged were a former Minister of State for Finance, Nenandi Usman, Yusuf Danjuma, a former Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON).

The Company Jointrust Dimension Ltd is fourth defendant.

EFCC preferred a 17-count charge of Money Laundering against the defendants.

They had each pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bails respectively.

EFCC has since opened its case and the third prosecution witness, Mr. Shehu Shuaibu was still being examined in chief.

The prosecutor Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, continued examination of the third prosecution witness on Tuesday after the court had earlier rejected an objection to the admissibility of two document tendered through the witness.

At the last adjourned date, defence had objected to the admissibility of bank document tendered through the witness on the grounds that they were not legible and also not public document

Justice Rilwan Aikawa, however, rejected the objection on the grounds that even if the witness is not the maker of the said document, they were gotten in the course of his investigation and therefore, admissible.

The court accordingly, admitted and marked the document as exhibits 15 and 16 respectively.

In continuation of his evidence, Oyedepo asked the witness to tell the court his findings during investigations.

The witness, who had confirmed that exhibit E8 is the statement of account of Jointrust Dimension Ltd, further told the court that investigations revealed that on Jan. 16, 2015, the sum of N800million was paid into the account of the company.

He told the court that the money came from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), adding that the signatories to the account were one Darbisu and Benjamin.

He said that the said signatories were former staffs of the ME A and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, respectively, but were now both working with the National Intelligence Agency.

He told the court that on January 13, 2015, the sum of N400 million was paid from the MEA into same account of Jointrust.

The witness told the court that these monies were paid, whereas investigations revealed that there were no contracts between the Ministry and the company to warrant such payment.

Under cross examination, defence counsel Mr Ferdinard Orbih (SAN) asked the witness who was the author of the entries in exhibit Eight and the witness replied that it was the MEA.

The witness also told the court that he has no knowledge if any of the defendants were employees of any Investigation Agency of Government.

Defence counsel also asked the witness if the commission obtained statements from the signatories to exhibit 16, and the witness replied “Yes they were invited to our office and their statements taken.”

On whether the said statements were frontloaded or made available to the defence, the witness replied “I don’t know”

In the charge, the defendants 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, they 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 and one Olubode Oke, who was said to 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 St., 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.

Trial will continue till Thursday October 31, 2019.

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