By Olaolu Oladipo, Lagos.
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has granted a bail of N250Â million each to a former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, andÂ three others charged with money laundering.Fani-Kayode, a former minister in the last regime of former PresidentÂ Goodluck Jonathan who was also the Director of Media and Publicity inÂ the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential campaign was arraignedÂ alongside a former Finance Minister, Nenadi Usman, and Danjuma Yusuf.
Also charged with them is Joint Trust Dimension Nig. Ltd.Â The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had slammed a 17-Â count charge bordering on unlawful retention, unlawful use and
unlawful payment of money to the tune of N4.9 billion on theÂ defendants.
They pleaded not guilty to the charges.Â On June 28, the court had remanded Fani-Kayode and others in prisonÂ custody pending determination of their bail applications.
Delivering his ruling on their bail application on Monday, JusticeÂ Sule Hassan held that there was no evidence that the accused wouldÂ interfere with trial if granted bail.
He noted that denying the accused bail, especially as the courtsÂ prepare for vacation would not serve the interest of justice.
Accordingly, he admitted the first, second, and third accused to aÂ bail in the sum of N250 million each with two sureties each in likeÂ sum.
Hassan added that each of the sureties must show evidence of ownershipÂ of landed properties in Lagos, and must submit their internationalÂ passports at the courtâ€™s registry.
The judge further ordered that all the documents must be verified byÂ the EFCC within seven days.
He fixed trial for Oct. 19, Oct. 20, and Oct. 21.
The EFCC had alleged that the defendants committed the offencesÂ between January and March 2015.
It said they unlawfully retained about N3.8 billion which theyÂ “reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of anÂ unlawful act of stealing and corruption.”
The prosecution also said that the defendants unlawfully used aboutÂ N970 million which they “reasonably ought to have known formed partÂ of an unlawful act of corruption.â€™â€™
Specifically, Fani-Kayode, with a man, Olubode Oke, still at large,Â were alleged to have made cash payments of about N30 million in excess of the amount allowed by law without going through a financialÂ institution.
Besides, Fani-Kayode was alleged to have made payments to one PasteÂ Poster Co. (PPC) of No. 125, Lewis St., Lagos, in excess of amountÂ allowed by law.
The offences, according to EFCC, contravene the provisions of SectionsÂ 15 (3), (4), 16 (2), (b), and 16 (5) of the Money LaunderingÂ (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012.