The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is to commence a fresh prosecution of former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode and three others at the Federal High Court, Abuja over alleged misappropriation of N4.6bn and money laundering.
Counsel for the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), told Justice Daniel Osiagor of the Federal High Court in Lagos, on Tuesday, that the move became necessary following last week’s judgement of the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, which quashed the charges.
Oyedepo said in view of the judgement of the Court of Appeal, all exhibits and documents tendered by the prosecution should be released to enable the Commission to commence the matter afresh at the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Justice Osiagor subsequently ordered the release of all exhibits and documents tendered before the court during the hearing of the matter back to the EFCC.
Last week Thursday, via Zoom, Justice Mohammed Danjuma of the Court of Appeal, delivered judgement on an appeal filed by one of Fani-Kayode’s co-defendants, former Minister of Finance, Nenadi Usman, challenging the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, Lagos to hear the matter.
The Appeal Court unanimously resolved the issues in favour of the appellant and also held that the Federal High Court in Lagos lacked jurisdiction to adjudicate on the matter.
The court also held that the facts of the case showed that all the transactions carried out by the Defendants took place in Abuja, hence the Federal High Court Abuja has jurisdiction to hear the case.
Justice Fatima Akinbami and Justice Onyekachi Otisi agreed with the judgment.
In an earlier suit, Fani-Kayode alongside a former Minister of State for Finance, Nenandi Usman; a former Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Yusuf Danjuma; and a company, Jointrust Dimensions Nigeria Ltd., were alleged to have at various times between January and March 2015, 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 to 17, Fani-Kayode and one Olubode Oke, were alleged to have made cash payments of about N30 million to one Paste Poster Co (PPC) of No 125, Lewis St., Igbosere, 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.
The defendants had, however, each pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bail.