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How N1.5bn Was Moved From Ministry Account To Fani-Kayode’s Account – EFCC

An operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Shuaibu Shehu has narrated to a Federal High Court in Lagos how the sum of N1.5 billion was fraudulently transferred from the Ministry of External Affairs account to Joint Trust Dimension Nigeria Limited, belonging to a former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode.

Shehu was testifying in the ongoing trial of Fani-Kayode, a former Minister of Finance, Mrs Nenadi Usman and two others, who are all standing trial over a 17-count charge of conspiracy and money laundering before Justice Daniel Osiagor.

Other defendants in the trial, which started in 2016, are Yusuf Danjuma, a former Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) and a company, Jointtrust Dimensions Nigeria Ltd.

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The defendants, who were accused by the EFCC of laundering the sum of N4.6 billion between January and March 2015 all pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Led in evidence by the EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, Shehu claimed that his team, from the Special Task Force of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), was assigned to investigate a petition which alleged that the total sum of N1.5 billion was fraudulently transferred from Ministry of External Affairs account to Joint Trust Dimension Nigeria Limited account No 1010740698 with Zenith Bank.

The witness stated “We commenced investigation immediately and wrote a letter of investigation activities to Zenith Bank requesting for a statement of account of Joint Trust and all the transactions in the account”

“We received the response and analysed them. Our findings revealed that on January 8, 13, and 16,2015, the sum of N300 million, N400 million, and N800 million respectively were transferred from the Ministry of External Affairs research library account, Ministry of External Affairs research project account, and Ministry of External Affairs research capital account respectively into Joint Trust Dimension Nigeria Limited account,” Shehu said

The witness further testified that these monies were moved into Femi Fani-Kayode ‘s (second defendant) company account, Joint Trust Dimension Nigeria Limited with Zenith Bank.

The EFCC operative further told the court that on February 4, 2015, the second defendant withdrew N170 million cash, on February 5, 2015, he withdrew N40 million, and on February 9, he withdrew N60 million.

The witness stated that between February 20 to the end of March 2015, the second defendant withdrew N200 million cash, and between Match 20 and 25, he withdrew N250, 650,000.

According to him, on February 12 one Olubode (now at large) made a cash payment for the sum of N24 million to a company, Paste Poster at No 125 Lewis Street, Lagos, and also on February 12, made an additional cash payment for the sum of N60 million to the same company, Paste Poster of No 125 Lewis Street Lagos Island.

Justice Osiagor has adjourned the matter to March 25 for further hearing.

The EFCC had earlier preferred a 17-count charge of N4.6 billion money laundering against the defendants before the former trial judge, Justice Mohammed Aikawa.

The defendants had each pleaded not guilty to the counts and were granted bail.

Hearing of the case had begun before Justice Aikawa and witnesses were being led in evidence before the trial judge was transferred out of the Lagos division of the court.

The case was subsequently assigned to a new trial judge, Justice Daniel Osaigor, and the defendants had to start the case from the beginning (de novo).

In the charge, the defendants were alleged to have at various times, unlawfully retained over N4.6 billion, which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of unlawful acts of stealing and corruption.

In counts 15 to 17, Fani-Kayode and one Olubode Oke, who is said to be at large, were alleged to have made cash payments of about N30 million to one Paste Poster Co (PPC) of No 125 Lewis St., Lagos.

The said payments were alleged to have been made more than amounts allowed by law without going through a financial institution.

The 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.

17th April 2024
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