How Ministry Paid Fani-Kayode’s Co-Accused N800m Without Contract —Witness

Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday heard how the Ministry of External Affairs paid N800 million to Joint Trust Dimensions Limited without any evidence of executing any contract.

This allegation was made by a prosecution witness, Shehu Shuaibu, in the on going trial of former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, and three others over money laundering allegations.

Fani-kayode was arraigned before the court alongside former Minister of for Finance, Nenandi Usman, and Yusuf Danjuma, a former Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON),

They and the fourth defendant in the charge a company, Jointrust Dimentions Nigeria Ltd were docked by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) 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.

At the resumed hearing of the case on Tuesday, Shuaibu, who was led in evidence by the EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, identified Exhibit E8 as the statement of account of Joint Trust Dimensions Limited.

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The third prosecution witness testified that he found from the statement of account an inflow of N800 million from the Ministry of External Affairs on January 16, 2015.

He also claimed that one Darbisu and one Benjamin were signatories to the firm’s account.

Shuaibu, who is an EFCC operative, identified the two signatories as ex-officials of the Ministry of External Affairs, adding that they currently work with the National Intelligence Agency.

But during cross-examination, admitted that “neither of the defendants had any input in making entries in Exhibit E8.”

Earlier the court had dismissed an objection raised by the defendants to the admissibility of two document tendered through the witness.

They 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

But Justice Rilwan Aikawa 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.

Justice Aikawa adjourned the matter to October 31 for continuation of trial.

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.

28th February 2024
Nigerian Pantagraph