Rejects documents in support of proceeds of rent
A FEDERAL High Court in Lagos Tuesday granted leave to former Minister of Aviation, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode, to travel out of the country to attend to ‘urgent and crucial personal matters.’
Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia granted the leave following an application for same prayers by Fani-Kayode in a short ruling.
Fani-Kayode is facing money laundering charges and is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) represented by Mr. Festus Keyamo.
In her ruling, the judge said the applicant must write a letter of the intention to travel to the Attorney General of the Federation and copy the Registrar of the court.
She also ruled that the applicant must not exceed 31 days in any of such travels.
Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia however, refused to admit as exhibit, a property document tendered by Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode, who is standing trial on a two-count charge bordering on money laundering.
Defence witness, Mr. Kola Olapoju, the administrator of a property belonging to late Remi Fani-Kayode, father of the defendant, tendered a document, accompanied with receipts of payments made by tenants in the property.
According to the witness, the money allegedly paid into Fani-Kayode’s account with Inland Bank, was not from the Ministry of Aviation but the proceeds of rent paid by tenants occupying his late father’s house.
EFCC’s counsel, Festus Keyamo, objected to the tendering of the document in court, arguing that, both the document and the receipts of payments allegedly made by tenants in the house, were not duly stamped.
Justice Ajumogobia subsequently refused to admit the document as exhibit.
Hearing continues in the matter today.
Fani-Kayode was arraigned before Ofili-Ajumogobia on 40 counts bordering on money laundering to the tune of about N100m.
The EFCC alleged that when he was Aviation Minister and the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Fani-Kayode, at various times carried out several financial transactions and dealt in cash in excess of N500, 000 without going through any financial institution.
The anti-graft agency said the alleged offence contravened Sections 15(1) (a) (b) (c) (d) and 15 (2) (a) (b) of the Money Laundering (prohibition) Act, 2004.
But Fani-Kayode had pleaded not guilty to the charges, following which the prosecution was asked to open its case and adduce evidence in support of the allegations.
However, at the closure of the prosecution’s case on July 10, 2014, the accused on August 5, 2014 submitted a no-case application, arguing that the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case against him and thus prayed the court to dismiss the charges and set him free.
Ruling on the no-case application on November 17, 2014, Ofili-Ajumogobia dismissed 38 of the 40 counts and discharged Fani-Kayode on the charges.
The judge, however, said the accused would need to prove his innocence in respect of counts 25 and 26 of the charge.
The counts read: “That you, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode on or before September 20, 2006, while serving as Minister of Culture and Tourism of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, made a transaction exceeding N500, 000 which was not done through financial institution, by accepting cash payment of N1m, which sum was further paid into your personal account number, 103450252601 with First Inland Bank Plc Apapa branch, now FCMB, through one Supo Agbaje, your administrative staff, now at large.
“That you, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode on or before September 20, 2006, while serving as Minister of Culture and Tourism of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, made a transaction exceeding N500, 000, which was not done through financial institution, by accepting cash payment of N1.1m, which sum was further paid into your personal account number, 103450252601 with First Inland Bank Plc Apapa branch, now FCMB, through one Supo Agbaje, your administrative staff, now at large.”