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EFCC begins trial of former Aviation Minister

11 March 2014, 14:57

Lagos - The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday commenced trial of a former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, at a Federal High Court in Lagos.

Fani-Kayode is standing trial on an amended 40-count charge bordering on money laundering.

At the re-arraignment of Fani-Kayode on Monday, the prosecutor, Festus Keyamo, called his first witness, Okechukwu Okeke, to give his testimony.

Led in evidence by the prosecutor, Okeke, a relationship officer with the First City Monument Bank Plc (FCMB), told the court that the accused maintained an account with FCMB, adding that his account had become dormant.

He alleged that the account of the accused was first domiciled with First Atlantic Bank before it was acquired by Fin Bank which was later acquired by FCMB.

According to the witness, as a relationship officer with the bank, he had the account history of customers.

He said he was given a letter by the legal department of his bank to verify the account history of the accused.

The witness, however, told the court that although the account was inactive, he still had details of transactions stored in the computer.

At this point, the prosecutor then tendered a statement of account of the accused between August 2008 and September 2012.

He informed the court that he was unable to produce the statement of account of the accused between 2004 and 2008 when he served as a minister.

He said he had written a letter to the bank to obtain the statements, and was told to come back in one week.

The Defence Counsel, Ifedayo Adedipe, did not oppose the submissions of the prosecutor.

Following this development, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia adjourned the case to March 18 for continuation of trial.

Fani-Kayode was first arraigned in December 2008 on a 47-count charge.

He pleaded not guilty to the charge and Justice Ramat Mohammed granted him bail in the sum of N200 million with two sureties in like sum.

He was re-arraigned with Justice Binta Murtala-Nyako as the trial judge following the transfer of Mohammed out of Lagos Division.

Fani-Kayode was again re-arraigned the third time on February 11, 2013, with Justice Ajumogobia taking charge following the transfer of Murtala-Nyako.

The EFCC had dropped seven of the original 47-count charge in the five-year-old trial.

Fani-Kayode was alleged to have accepted cash payments to the tune of N100 million, while he held sway at the Ministries of Aviation as well as Culture and Tourism.

The offences contravened the provisions of Sections 15(1), (a), (b), (c), (d) and 15 (2) (a), (b) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004, the EFCC said.

-  NAN

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