Alleged N4.6bn Fraud: Trial Of Fani-Kayode, Usman Resumed

The trial of a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, Former Minister of Finance, Nenadi Usman and two others on charges of fraud and money laundering resumed on Tuesday before the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.

Fani-kayode and Usman were docked before Justice Rilwan Aikawa alongside Yusuf Danjuma, a former Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON),

They and the fourth defendant in the charge a company, Jointtrust Dimentions Nigeria Ltd were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a 17-count charge of conspiracy and laundering N4.6 billion.

They all pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bail by the court.

During Tuesday’s proceedings, a witness of the anti-graft agency, Shehu Shuaibu was cross examination by Mrs. Usman’s counsel, Ferdinand Orbih(SAN)

Shuaibu testified under cross examination that funds were illegally transferred from the Ministry of External Affairs into a private firm, Jointtrust Dimentions Ltd without any contract being awarded.

In an answer to questions from Orbih, the witness said as an investigator with the EFCC, he personally took the statements of the defendants.

The witness also testified that from his findings there were huge inflows of money from the Ministry of External Affairs to the Account of Jointtrust Dimentions Ltd.

He said that he could find no trace of any contract between the firm and the Ministry to warrant the payment of the funds.

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The witness ageeed with the defence counsel however that the cash inflows into the account of Jointtrust was however not limited to the Government as funds also came in from companies and individuals.

The witness confirmed the following inflows:
“N500 million from Global Scan System Ltd on Feb.11, 2015, N300 million from Diamond Bank on Jan. 30, 2015 and N250 million from Castillo Torres BDC Ltd on Feb. 11, 2015.

“N100 million from Afri gate Energy Ltd, and N500 million from Chief Emeka Ofor on March 13, 2015,”

As to whether he was aware that the account was open for the purpose of receiving donations for campaigns for the 2015 General Elections, the witness said he was not sure if the funds were truly donations, as some of these who allegedly donated monies were still being investigated.

Further Cross examination has been adjourned till Wednesday, February 26.

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 is 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.juui

All offences contravenes the provisions of sections 15 (3) (4), 16 (2) (b), and 16 (5) of the Money laundering (prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012.

21st June 2024
Nigerian Pantagraph