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L-R: Former Minister of Finance, Mrs. Esther Nenadi Usman and a former Minister for Aviation, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode shortly after their arraignment before a Lagos High Court on Tuesday…credit EFCC.

Court grants Fani-Kayode, Usman, 2 others N1bn bail

By Olaolu Oladipo, Lagos.

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has granted a bail of N250 million each to a former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, and three others charged with money laundering.Fani-Kayode, a former minister in the last regime of former President Goodluck Jonathan who was also the Director of Media and Publicity in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential campaign was arraigned alongside a former Finance Minister, Nenadi Usman, and Danjuma Yusuf.

Also charged with them is Joint Trust Dimension Nig. Ltd. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had slammed a 17- count charge bordering on unlawful retention, unlawful use and
unlawful payment of money to the tune of N4.9 billion on the defendants.

They pleaded not guilty to the charges. On June 28, the court had remanded Fani-Kayode and others in prison custody pending determination of their bail applications.

Delivering his ruling on their bail application on Monday, Justice Sule Hassan held that there was no evidence that the accused would interfere with trial if granted bail.
He noted that denying the accused bail, especially as the courts prepare for vacation would not serve the interest of justice.
Accordingly, he admitted the first, second, and third accused to a bail in the sum of N250 million each with two sureties each in like sum.
Hassan added that each of the sureties must show evidence of ownership of landed properties in Lagos, and must submit their international passports at the court’s registry.
The judge further ordered that all the documents must be verified by 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 offences between January and March 2015.
It said they unlawfully retained about N3.8 billion which they “reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act of stealing and corruption.”
The prosecution also said that the defendants unlawfully used about N970 million which they “reasonably ought to have known formed part of an unlawful act of corruption.’’
Specifically, Fani-Kayode, with a man, Olubode Oke, still 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 amount allowed by law.

The offences, according to EFCC, contravene the provisions of Sections 15 (3), (4), 16 (2), (b), and 16 (5) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012.

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