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Nigerian ex-Minister charged over $17.4m money laundering

Nigerian ex-Minister charged over $17.4m money laundering

Nigeria

Femi Fani-Kayode, a former Aviation minister in Nigeria has been hauled before a Lagos Federal High Court for allegedly laundering some N49 million (over ($17 million).

Fani-Kayode, who has been under detention by the country’s anti-graft body, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) since his arrest in May this year was arraigned along with three others, an ex-Minister of Finance Nenadi Usman, one Danjuma Yusuf and a company – Joint Trust Dimension Nigeria Limited.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Fani-Kayode – a former director of Media and Publicity in the Goodluck Jonathan campaign, and other accused pleaded not guilty to the charges.

After their arraignment, the Prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, informed the court that he was ready to proceed with the trial at any date of adjournment. Counsels for the two ex-Ministers disclosed having applied for bail for their respective clients.

Sitting judge, Justice Sule Hassan, in a short ruling, adjourned the case to July 1 for hearing of the bail applications. He however, ordered that the defendants be remanded in prison custody pending determination of their bail application.

The accused were alleged to have committed the offences between January and March 2015.

The Vanguard news portal gave details of the 17 charges as follows:

On counts one to seven, they were alleged to have unlawfully retained about N3.8 billion which they “reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act of stealing and corruption.’’

On counts eight to 14, the accused were alleged to have unlawfully used about N970 million which they “reasonably ought to have known formed part of an unlawful act of corruption.’’

Meanwhile, on counts 15 to17, Fani-Kayode, together with a man, Olubode Oke, still 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.

The offences, according to the EFCC, contravene the provisions of Sections 15 (3), (4), 16 (2), (b) and 16 (5) of the Money Laundering (Prohibitions) (Amendment) Act, 2012.