A prosecution witness in the trial of the former aviation minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, on Wednesday told a federal court in Lagos how the former minister received N350 million from the ministry of external affairs without executing any project or render any service to the ministry.
Shehu Shuaibu, an operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, while being led in evidence by the prosecution lawyer said N800 million was first transferred to a company called Joint Trust Dimension Ltd on January 16, 2015, without the firm executing any contract.
Mr Fani-Kayode; a former minister of state for finance, Nenadi Usman; one Danjuma Yusuf; and a company, Joint Trust Dimensions Limited are facing 17 counts bordering on conspiracy, unlawful retention of proceeds of theft and money laundering.
They pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Mr Shuaibu said Joint Trust Dimension was used to divert the funds by the defendants without any service rendered to the ministry.
He tendered various Zenith Bank cheques that were used for the alleged fraud which were recovered in the cause of their investigation.
Mr Shuaibu’s attempt to tender another set of 115 Zenith Bank cheques used by Mr Fani-Kayode for withdrawals in the alleged fraud was objected to by Norrison Quakers, the ex-minister’s lawyer.
Mr Quakers, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, requested for an adjournment to enable him check if the proof of evidence served on his client contained those cheques.
The judge, Rilwan Aikawa, adjourned the trial till February 21.
According to the EFCC, Mr Fani-Kayode, who was the Director of Publicity of former president Goodluck Jonathan’s presidential campaign organisation in the 2015 election, conspired with the others to, directly and indirectly, retain various sums which the commission claimed they ought to have reasonably known were proceeds of crime.
In one of the counts, the defendants were accused of conspiring among themselves to “indirectly retain the sum of N1.5 billion which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act to wit: stealing.”
The four defendants were also accused of indirectly retaining N300 million, N400 million and N800 million, all proceeds of corruption, according to the EFCC.
Mr Fani-Kayode was accused of using parts of the money at various times, including N250 million, which he allegedly used between March 20 and 25, 2015.
The ex-aviation minister was also accused of making a cash transaction of N24 million to one Olubode Oke, said to still be at large, on February 12, 2015 “to paste poster Co of 125, Lewis Street, Lagos Island.”
The duo were said to have made the transaction without going through any financial institution, an act the EFCC claimed was contrary to sections 1(a) and 16(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012, and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act.
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