The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday re-arraigned a former minister of aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode before the Federal High Court in Lagos for allegedly laundering N4.6 billion.
Fani-Kayode was re-arraigned before Justice Daniel Osaigor by the EFCC alongside former minister of finance, Nenadi Usman and two others on a 17-count charge of conspiracy and money laundering following the transfer of the former trial judge, Justice Rilwan Aikawa.
Also charged before the new trial judge is Yusuf Danjuma, a former chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) and Jointrust Dimensions Nigeria Limited.
The EFCC had earlier preferred a 17-count charge of N4.6 billion money laundering against the defendants before Justice Aikawa.
The defendants had each pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bail.
Hearing of the case had begun before Justice Aikawa and witnesses were being led in evidence before the trial judge was transferred out of the Lagos division.
The case was consequently assigned to Justice Osaigor, and the defendants had to start the case all over again (de nouvo).
At resumed hearing of the matter yesterday, the amended 17-count charge was read over to the defendants and they each pleaded not guilty to the charge.
After their pleas were taken, the judge granted the request of the defence counsel, Chief Ferdinard Orbih (SAN), to allow the defendants to continue on the existing bail conditions granted by Justice Aikawa.
He adjourned the case until March 11, for trial. In the charge, the defendants were alleged to have committed the offences between January and March 2015 in Lagos.
The defendants were accused by the EFCC to have committed the offences between January and March 2015.
They were alleged to have at various times unlawfully retained over N4.6 billion, which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of unlawful acts of stealing and corruption.
In counts 15 to17, Fani-Kayode and one Olubode Oke, who is said to be at large, were alleged to have made cash payments of about N30 million to one Paste Poster Co (PPC) of No 125 Lewis St., Lagos.
The said payments were alleged to have been made in excess of amounts allowed by law without going through a financial institution.
All offences were said to have contravened the provisions of sections 15 (3) (4), 16 (2) (b), and 16 (5) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012.