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By uzoukwuchidiadimiracle • 9 days ago • 62 views • 11 comments

*Fani-Kayode

A Federal High Court in Lagos will on May 31 decide

whether it will admit in evidence, statements allegedly made

by a former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, and three

others facing money laundering charges.

Justice Mohammed Aikawa will rule on a preliminary

objection challenging the admissibility of the statements

allegedly made to the Economic and Financial Crimes

Commission (EFCC) which is prosecuting the defendants.

Journalists gathered that Fani-Kayode is facing charges

bordering on N4.6 billion money laundering alongside a

former Minister of State for Finance, Nenandi Usman (first

defendant), and Yusuf Danjuma, a former Chairman of the

Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON),

Yusuf Danjuman (third defendant).

The fourth defendant in the suit is a company, Jointrust

Dimensions Nig. Ltd.

The EFCC preferred a 17-count charge against the

defendants but they pleaded not guilty and were granted

bail.

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EFCC has since opened its case and the third prosecution

witness, Mr Shehu Shuaibu, is being led in evidence.

On Tuesday, Shuaibu, an EFCC investigator, who was led in

evidence by the prosecution counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo,

testified that during the investigation of the case, the

defendants were invited by the commission for their own

sides of the story.

He said when the first and third defendants were invited, he

showed them Exhibit 8 which is a bank account statement

of the fourth defendant (Joint trust) which they identified.

According to the witness, the defendants thereafter

volunteered statements to the commission after requisite

cautionary words were administered.

When asked about Fani-Kayode (second defendant), he said

that he was invited on May 19 and shown a statement of

his bank account where he transferred sums of money from

Joint trust.

According to the witness, the second defendant admitted

receiving money from Joint trust and also volunteered

statements to the EFCC.

The prosecution counsel then showed the witness the

respective statements of the first, second and third

defendants, and he said that they made the statements to

the EFCC.

When Oyedepo sought to tender the statements in evidence,

defence counsel, Messrs Ferdinard Orbih (SAN), Norrison

Quakers (SAN) and Clement Onwuenweunor, raised

objections to their admissibility, saying the statements were

involuntarily made.

Citing relevant provisions of the Evidence Act, Orbih told the

court that the statement of the first defendant was made

under duress and in her absence, while she was receiving

medical attention.

Quakers aligned with the submissions of Orbih, saying the

statement of Fani-Kayode was involuntarily made.

He added that the statement was not taken in the presence

of his counsel.

Citing statutory and judicial authorities, the defence argued

that where voluntariness of a statement was in doubt, the

court should order a trial-within-trial to determine whether

the statement was voluntary.

Clement, counsel to the third defendant, also aligned with

Orbih.

In reply, Oyedepo argued that a court could only order a

trial-within-trial where it was satisfied that the statement

under contention was confessional.

According to the prosecution counsel, the statement of the

first defendant was taken by her counsel, with her authority,

and not under any form of duress or inducement.

For the second defendant, Oyedepo argued that his

statement was taken in the presence of his lawyer, Mr

Olumayowa Owolabi, who he said, confirmed that the

statement was voluntary.

He argued that another lawyer for the second defendant,

one Wale Balogun, also confirmed that the statement was

taken voluntarily.

Oyedepo urged the court to refuse the objection.

The judge adjourned the case until May 31 for ruling on the

objection and continuation of trial.

Journalists report that the EFCC alleged that the

defendants committed the offences from January 2015 to

March 2015.

In counts one to seven, it accused the defendants of

unlawfully retaining over N3.8 billion which formed part of

the proceeds of stealing and corruption.

In counts eight to 14, the commission accused them of

unlawfully using over N970 million which formed part of

corruption.

In counts 15 to17, the EFCC accused Fani-Kayode and one

Olubode Oke said to be at large or making cash payments

of about N30 million which exceeded the amount allowed

by law without going through a financial institution.

It also alleged that Fani-Kayode made payments to one

Paste Poster Co (PPC) of No 125 Lewis St., Lagos, in

excess of amounts allowed by law.

The alleged offences 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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