The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Monday re-arraigned former ministers of Aviation and Finance, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode and Senator Nenadi Usman for alleged N4.6billion fraud.
They pleaded not guilty to the 17-count charge of laundering.
The defendants were first arraigned last June 28 before Justice Muslim Hassan.
But, on March 16, he recused himself from the case after Fani-Kayode accused him of likely bias.
The judge transferred the case file to the Chief Judge, Justice Ibrahim Auta, for re-assignment to another judge.
In asking the court to disqualify himself, Fani-Kayode said Justice Hassan, who worked as Head of Legal at the EFCC before his appointment as a judge, signed the money laundering charge for which Fani-Kayode was previously tried and acquitted by Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumobia on July 1, 2015.
Following Justice Hassan’s withdrawal, to case was re-assigned to Justice Rilwan Aikawa, and the defendants took their pleas afresh yesterday.
Justice Aikawa asked the defendants to remain on the bail terms earlier granted them by Justice Hassan.
Usman’s lawyer, Abiodun Owonikoko, prayed the court to hear his client’s pending application seeking to transfer the case to Abuja for convenience.
He said Justice Hassan did not address the issue in his ruling disqualifying himself.
“He didn’t consider that application. He only recused himself,” Owonikoko said.
But EFCC’s lawyer Rotimi Oyedepo said since issues were joined before Justice Hassan, the defendants should appeal or file fresh applications.
The former ministers were charged along with former 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, Jointrust Dimentions Nigeria Limited.
Count one of the charge reads: “That you, Nenadi Esther Usman, Femi Fani-Kayode, Danjuman Yusuf And Jointrust Dimentions Nigeria Ltd on or about the 8th day of January, 2015, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired amongst yourselves to indirectly retain the sum of N1,500, 000,000.00 which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act to wit: stealing.”
The four were also accused of indirectly retaining N300million, N400million and N800million, all proceeds of corruption, according to EFCC.
The prosecution said they allegedly committed the offence between January 8 and March 25, 2015 ahead of the 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 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).
Justice Aikawa adjourned until June 7 for ruling and commencement of trial.
Lekki Killings: It Will No Longer Be Business As Usual For Okada Operators In Lagos – Jejeloye
JUST IN: Lagos Imposes Total Ban On Okada In Six LGAs [Video]
The Lagos State government, on Wednesday, announced a “total ban” on commercial motorcycles, popularly called Okada, in six LGAs in the state.
Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos, announced the directive while briefing the state’s security agents on Wednesday.
The six local governments listed by the governor are Ikeja, Surulere, Eti-Osa, Lagos Mainland, Lagos Island, and Apapa.
Sanwo-Olu said, “The whole of Ikeja, Surulere, Eti-Osa, Lagos Mainland, Lagos Island, and Apapa local governments have been placed on a total ban effective from the first of June. This is the first phase of banning that we are going to be embarking on so that others should know… They should find something else to do.”
Sanwo-Olu further advised residents patronizing Okada riders on highways to embrace the alternative transport schemes already provided by the Government to plan their journey.
According to him, the government had provided Last-Mile Buses, medium-capacity and high-capacity buses in the affected areas for the convenience of commuters.
“We will not sit back and watch criminally-minded people use motorcycles to perpetrate crimes and criminality in Lagos. Lives are being lost on a daily basis, preventable accidents are happening every day and the riders are not respecting any of our traffic laws. The situation has led to a complete breakdown of law and order. This ban has come to stay and we will not tolerate any weakness in enforcement.” he said.
Earlier before the ban, the Chairman of Lagos State Taskforce, Shola Jejeloye was said to have stormed the Lekki axis in a sting operation where 115 motorcycles were seized for flouting the State Traffic laws of operating on restricted routes and plying the State’s Highways.
Jejeloye emphasized that as part of the agency’s effort to clamp down on uncooperative and killer okada operators in the state, it would continue with its mob up exercise to rid Lekki axis and the entire State of unscrupulous Okada operators who have refused to heed the sound of warning and carried on with their illegal operations.
“This operation will be a continuous one not just in Lekki but in every other part of the State, and we will make sure that their activities are truncated till they abide by the rules. They will never be above the law no matter how large their numbers are” he said.
The chairman further urged residents of the state to join efforts with the Government in ensuring that the fight to restore and maintain sanity on Lagos Roads is won collectively in order to improve security.
Watch Video Below;
BREAKING: Court Denies Nnamdi Kanu Bail, IPOB Leader To Remain In Detention
Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has denied the bail application of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Ruling on the bail application, Justice Binta Nyako, said the issue of Kanu’s absence in the past, since 2017, should be determined, before his bail application, will be entertained.
She added that Kanu breached his former bail conditions, and until that is heard, his present bail application is immature.
Ahead of the ruling on the bail application, on Wednesday morning, the Federal Government had filed a six-count amended charge against Kanu.
Justice Nyako, however, berated the prosecution for filing the amended charge just hours before the ruling. She said she was not aware of the amended charge until she got to the court in the morning.
According to her, the prosecution cannot dump the new amended charge on the court, on the morning of the hearing.
On dismissing his bail application, the court noted that Kanu’s trial had since 2015, suffered various setbacks owing to over 19 interlocutory applications that have been filed in the matter.
It, therefore, implored the parties to allow the case to proceed to trial to enable the charge to be determined.
Kanu had in the application he filed pursuant to sections 6(6) and 36(5) and (6) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, as well as sections 161, 162, 163, and 165 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, 2015, prayed the court to release him on bail, pending by determination of the charge against him.
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