Ruling On Suit Against Fani-Kayode, Others Deferred Till February 8

Nenadi Usman, Femi Fani-Kayode, EFCC, CourtA Federal High Court in Lagos has fixed February 8, 2017, to hear all applications challenging its jurisdiction in the case of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against two former ministers.

The defendants in the matter include a former Minister of Aviation, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode, a former Finance Minister, Mrs Nenadi Usman, one Danjuma Yusuf and a company, Joint Trust Dimensions Nigeria Limited.

They are standing trial before the court on a 17-count charge of alleged 4.9 billion Naira fraud.

The respondents have pleaded not guilty to the charges and after being granted bail by the court, the EFCC opened its case against them with the testimony of its first prosecution witness.

However, they have filed various applications before the court challenging its powers to hear the case.

At Tuesday’s proceeding, the defence lawyers refused to cross examine the witness, asking the court to hear and determine their various applications.

The judge in charge of the case, Justice Muslim Hassan, consequently fixed Wednesday to rule on their requests.

The defendants also challenged the choice of Lagos State, as the venue in a matter which they said had nothing to do with the state.

The former Finance Minister had also asked the court to separate her trial from that of the former Aviation Minister.

In a second application, Mrs Usman asked for the release of her passport to enable her travel abroad for medical treatment.

Mr Fani-Kayode’s lawyer also asked the trial judge to hands off the case on the basis that he once prosecuted for the EFCC.

Court Fixes Wednesday To Decide Jurisdiction On Suit Against Fani-Kayode, Others

Court, EFCC, Femi Fani-Kayode, Nenadi Usman, EFCCA Federal High Court in Lagos is set to rule on the challenge of its jurisdiction in the case of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against two former ministers and two others.

The court fixed Wednesday, January 18 for ruling after listening to arguments on the issue from lawyers in the matter.

The EFCC had arraigned a former Minister of Aviation, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode, a former Minister of Finance, Senator Nenadi Usman, and two others on a 17-count charge of laundering about 4.9 billion Naira.

They all pleaded not guilty.

At the resumed hearing of the case on Tuesday, the prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, concluded his examination of the first prosecution witness, one Mr Idowu Olusegun, a media consultant with Paste Posters Company Limited.

In his testimony which started in October 2016, Mr Olusegun told the court how he purportedly received about 24 million Naira cash in several tranches from the office of the Mr Fani-Kayode, who was the Director of Campaign Organisation of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

He explained that the money was meant for the printing of posters and flyers for former President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election.

The defence lawyers, however, declined to cross-examine the witness.

Call For Separate Trial

Counsel to Mrs Usman, Mr Abiodun Owonikoko, told Justice Muslim Hassan that in the light of pending applications before the court, the stage was ripe to request for the hearing of an application he filed since November 2016, seeking a separate trial for his client.

He stressed that he was concerned that his client would not get a fair hearing with the present joint trial.

Mr Owonikoko also expressed displeasure with the choice of Lagos State as the venue in a matter which he said had nothing to do with the state.

He told the court that it had become very tedious for his client to come from Abuja on every adjourned date and spend at least three days in Lagos, especially with all her accounts frozen.

On his part, Counsel to Mr Fani-Kayode, Mr Norrison Quakers, aligned with these submissions and urged the court to first hear applications touching on its jurisdiction.

He informed the court that he had recently filed an application challenging its jurisdiction.

Mr Quakers stated that to cross examine the witness would mean submitting to the jurisdiction of the court.

The EFCC prosecutor, however, objected to the arguments and insisted that the defendants had already submitted to the jurisdiction of the court after taking their plea.

He argued that all the pending applications could be taken together while the court proceeds with its ruling.

After listening to all the lawyers, Justice Muslim Hassan adjourned the case to Wednesday for ruling.

EFCC Set To Arraign Fani-Kayode On June 21

Femi Fani-Kayode, EFCCThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has set a new date to arraign former Aviation Minister on Spokesman of the Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode.

He will now be arraigned before Justice Sule Hassan of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Tuesday, June 21.

It’s not clear why the arraignment was shifted from Friday this week to Tuesday next week but Channels Television’s judiciary correspondent, Shola Soyele, reports that it may not be unconnected with the busy schedule of the court and the prosecuting agency.

The EFCC has filed a 17 count charge against Chief Femi Fani-Kayode over an alleged N1.5 billion fraud.

A former Minister of Finance, Senator Nenadi Usman; a firm, Joint Trust Dimensions Limited; one Danjuma Yusuf and another Olubode Oke, (said to be at large) are charged alongside Chief Fani-Kayode.

In the first count of the charge, “Nnenadi Esther Usman, Femi Fani-Kayode, Danjuman Yusuf And Jointrust Dimentions Nigeria LTD on or about the 8th day of January, 2015, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired to indirectly retain the sum of N1.5 billion, a sum the EFCC says they reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act of stealing.

“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”, the charge read.

The EFCC has listed 17 witnesses to testify against the defendants including representatives of Zenith, Wema, Skye, UBA, First Bank and GT Bank.

Nigeria’s President To Meet With Investors In London

President Goodluck Jonathan will be visiting the United Kingdom on Wednesday for a three-day meeting with foreign investors.

The meeting is aimed at attracting more investments to Nigeria.

Issues that would be discussed at the meeting of Nigeria’s Honourary International Investors’ Council include generating long-term affordable finance for Nigeria’s real sector, developing Nigeria’s private equity and venture capital sectors to attract more foreign investments and Nigeria’s information and communications technology master-plan.

The government’s spokesman, Ruben Abati, said that the council’s meeting, coordinated by Baroness Lynda Chalker, would also feature a review of Nigeria’s existing investment policies by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Paris-based international organization dedicated to the promotion of policies that would improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.

“President Jonathan will be accompanied by Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State, Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State, Senator Emmanuel Paulker, Senator Nenadi Usman, Hon. Sylvester Ogbaga, Hon. Isiaka Bawa, the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investments, Dr. Olusegun Aganga and the Governor of the Central Bank, Mr. Lamido Sanusi.

Others on the President’s entourage include the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke, the Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, the Minister of Special Duties, Mr. Kabiru Turaki, the Minister of State (Foreign Affairs), Prof. Viola Onwuliri and heads of relevant government agencies”, Abati said in a statement on Tuesday.

The accompanying Ministers and heads of agencies will brief the gathering on developments in their areas of responsibility, and also lead discussions on proposals for overcoming identified challenges.

Some members of the council are the CEO of the Investment Corporation of Dubai, Mr. Mohammed al Shaibani, a former South African Minister of Public Enterprises, Mr. Alec Erwin and the Vice President of Hewlett-Packard’s Enterprise Group in Europe and Middle-East and Africa, Mr. Olivier Suinat.

The President is expected back in Nigeria at the weekend.