Court Adjourns Trial Of Fani-Kayode, Three Others Over Alleged Scam

Femi Fani-Kayode, CourtA Federal High Court in Lagos has shifted the trial of a former Minister of Aviation, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode and three others over an alleged 4.6 billion naira fraud to Tuesday.

The ruling was given after the defence counsel, Mr Norrison Quakers, told the court that he had just been briefed about the matter on Sunday evening.

He noted that he would need time to study the case file and requested for parties in the matter to meet with the judge at his chambers.

Mr Fani-Kayode’s lawyer added that the outcome of the discussions would help the court to arrive at an informed decision on the matter.

Counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nkereuwen Anana, however, opposed the request.

He maintained that any fresh issue on the matter should be raised in the open court.

Meanwhile, other defence lawyers, who weighed in on the matter, pleaded with the court to grant Mr Quakers’ request.

In a short ruling on Monday, Justice Hassan declined to grant any audience at his chambers with parties in the matter.

He asked Mr Fani-Kayode’s lawyer to put forward his thoughts in a formal application.

The judge consequently adjourned further hearing on the matter till Tuesday, January 17.

The EFCC had on June 28, 2016 arraigned the former minister and three others on a 17-count charge over an alleged fraud.

The other defendants are a former Minister of State for Finance, Mrs Nenadi Usman, one Danjuma Yusuf and a company, Joint Trust Dimensions Nigeria Limited.

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

Fani-Kayode Meets Bail Conditions, Released

Fani-KayodeFormer Minister of Aviation, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode, has been released from EFCC custody after meeting his bail conditions.

Mr Fani-Kayode was released at about 6:30pm in Lagos on Friday after over two months.

The former Aviation Minister, shortly after his release told Channels Television, “I give thanks to God that I am free after 67 days in detention.

“This was the worst experience of my life but God was with me all the way. I suffered immeasurably but I count it all as joy.

“I am innocent of all charges and I look forward to defending myself vigorously in court. These charges are politically motivated and I have been severely punished for my political views and criticisms of the government.”

Mr Fani-Kayode was arrested by the anti-graft agency over alleged 1.5 billion Naira fraud and has been charged alongside a former Minister of Finance, Nenadi Usman; a firm, Joint Trust Dimensions Limited; and one Jimoh Yusuf.

The Federal High Court had granted bail in the sum of 250 million Naira each, to Mr Fani-Kayode, Nenadi Usman and Danjuma Yusuf who are being tried by the EFCC for allegedly stealing and laundering about 4.9 billion Naira.

Delivering his ruling on their bail application, the trial judge, Justice Sule Hassan, held that there was no evidence that the defendants would interfere with trial if granted bail.

The judge also held that denying the defendants  bail, especially as the courts’ vacation was near, and would span throughout the expiration of August, would not serve the interest of justice.

Justice Sule Hassan granted the defendants bail with two sureties each in like sum. The sureties must own landed properties within the court’s jurisdiction and must present to the court, evidence of tax clearance.

The defendants were also ordered to deposit their international passports in the custody of the court pending the determination of the case.

Owing to the courts’ annual vacation which commences on Monday July 11, 2016 Justice Hassan adjourned commencement of trial to October 19, 2016.

Fani-Kayode and Usman were the directors of Media and Finance respectively of the Peoples Democratic Party Campaign Organisation in the 2015 general election.

Fani-Kayode, Nenadi Usman To Remain In Prison Till July 4

Fani-KayodeTwo former Nigerian ministers, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode and Nenadi Usman, are to remain in prison till Monday, July 4, as a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has reserved ruling on their bail applications.

Fani-Kayode and Usman were the directors of Media and Finance respectively of the Peoples Democratic Party Campaign Organisation in the 2015 general election.

Both men alongside Danjuma Yusuf and Jointrust Dimensions Nigeria Limited were on June 28 arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission before Justice M. Hassan on a 17-count charge bordering on conspiracy, stealing, corruption and making cash payments exceeding the amount authorised by law.

The accused persons are alleged to have diverted about 4.9 billion Naira belonging to the Federal Government of Nigeria for political and personal uses.

They had pleaded not guilty.

Consequently, their counsel, Ferdinand Orbih, Ifedayo Adedipe and S. I. Ameh moved the motion for bail, having filed separate applications in which they asked the court to release their clients on bail.

But the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, said he needed time to respond to the applications.

Justice Hassan consequently adjourned proceedings to July 1 for hearing of the bail applications.

According to Channels Television’s judiciary correspondent, Shola Soyele, at the resumed hearing on Friday, counsel to the defendants argued the applications.

Mr Orbih asked the court to admit the first accused person to bail based on self-recognition pending the hearing and determination of the charges preferred against her.

He also prayed the court to grant her bail on very liberal terms. Adedipe and Ndukwe aligned themselves with Orbih.

However, the prosecution counsel, Nkereuwem Mark Anana, opposed the applications.

However, he stated that “where the court decides to exercise its discretion in favour of the defendants, it should impose conditions that will compel them to attend trial”.

Justice Hassan consequently adjourned to July 4, 2016 for ruling.

Court Remands Nenadi Usman, Fani-Kayode In Prison

Fani-KayodeThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday arraigned a former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode; a former Minister of Finance, Nenadi Usman, Danjuma Yusuf and a company, Jointrust Dimensions Nigeria Limited before Justice Sule Hassan of the Federal High Court Lagos.

They were arraigned on a 17-count charge bordering on conspiracy, stealing, corruption and making cash payments exceeding the amount authorised by law.

They all pleaded not guilty.

In the first of the 17-count charge, Mr Usman, Mr Fani-Kayode, one Mr Yusuf and Jointrust Dimentions Nigeria Ltd on or about January 8, 2015 allegedly conspired to indirectly retain the sum of 1.5 billion Naira, a sum which the EFCC said they reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act.

They, therefore, committed an offence contrary to Section 18(A) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012. The Offence is punishable under Section 15(3) & 4 of the same Act.

While the former Finance Minister and the company, Jointrust Dimensions Ltd are only named in the first four counts, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode, who is also former spokesman of the Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation, is named in all 17 counts.

In the last 3 counts, he allegedly conspired with one Olubode Oke who is said to still be on the run. Both men were said to have made cash payments to one Paste Poster Company without going through a financial institution and exceeding the amount authorised by Law.

The defendants all pleaded not guilty to the charges and the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, immediately asked the court to commence trial and order an accelerated hearing of the case.

The defence counsels took turns to make a case for the court to hear the bail application of their clients.

The prosecution, however, urged the court to give him time to file a joint response to all the bail applications as he had only just been served some of the documents.

The EFCC counsel also told the court that the Commission’s remand facility was overstretched and considering that Mr Fani Kayode had recently alleged that one of the EFCC officials assaulted him, the proper place to remand the defendants pending the determination of their bail applications was the prison.

After listening to all the submissions, Justice Sule Hassan adjourned hearing of the bail applications till Friday, July 1.

He also ordered that all the defendants be remanded in prison custody until then.