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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.

Graft: Ex-ministers, Fani-Kayode, Nenadi get new trial dates

By Olaolu Oladipo, Lagos

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has fixed January 16, 17 and 18 for the trial former ministers Chief Femi Fani-Kayode (Aviation) and Senator Nenadi Usman (state for Finance).

Though the trial was billed for Monday, but it could not hold due to the public holiday.

The anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arraigned them on a 17-count charge of laundering about N4.6billion.

They pleaded not guilty to the charges which border on conspiracy, unlawful retention of proceeds of theft and corruption and money laundering.

They were charge along with former National Chairman of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) and ex-Chairman of Kagarko Local Government Area of Kaduna State, Mr. Yusuf Danjuma and a company said to belong to him, Jointrust Dimentions Nigeria Limited.

The four were also accused of indirectly retaining N300million, N400million and N800million, all proceeds of corruption.

EFCC said they allegedly committed the offence between last January 8 and last March 25, 2015 ahead of last year’s general election.

In another count, the prosecution alleged that Fani-Kayode directly retained N350million which he ought to have “reasonably known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act to wit: stealing.”

The commission said Fani-Kayode directly used the sum of N170million, among other sums, which he reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of corruption and stealing.

He was also accused of doing cash transaction of N24million with Olubode Oke, said to still be at large, without going through a financial institution.

The offence, EFCC said, violates sections 1(a) and 16(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 16(2)(b).

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