Law News
Fani-Kayode rests case in money laundering charges

A former Minister of Aviation, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode, who is facing money laundering charges before a Federal High Court in Lagos, closed his case on Thursday.

Fani-Kayode’s legal team, which was expected to call upon its third listed witness to disprove the allegations, told the presiding judge, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, at the resumed trial on Thursday that after a further review of its case, it realised that the testimony of its third witness was no longer necessary.

The team, led by Mr. Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), therefore prayed the judge for a short adjournment within which the parties would file their final written addresses and move same in court.

“My Lord, we have since reviewed the case of the prosecution in relation with the defence, and having been satisfied, we are no longer calling any witness. We closed our case in the trial. We shall be asking for just seven days to write our final written address and subject to the convenience of this court, we can come back in the middle of April,” Adedipe said.

However, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s prosecutor, Mr. Festus Keyamo, said he would require about two weeks to file his final written address.

The matter has been adjourned till May 4, 2014 for the two sides to canvass their final arguments.

On the adjourned date, the court would also rule on an application by the defence seeking an order to discharge one of Fani-Kayode’s sureties, Wale Ajisebutu, who said he needed the original title documents of his landed property “in order to meet certain personal and urgent matters.”

Ajisebutu had in 2009 deposited the title documents into the court custody in fulfilment of the bail conditions granted Fani-Kayode by the court.

The defence, in its application dated March 11, 2015, is also praying the court to replace Ajisebutu with one Ogbor Elliot.

Fani-Kayode was charged with an amended 40 counts of money laundering by the EFCC.

The anti-graft agency alleged that while he was Minister of Culture and Tourism and later the Minister of Aviation, Fani-Kayode, on several occasions, dealt in cash sums above N500m without going through any financial institution.

The alleged offence was said to contravene Sections 15(1) (a) (b) (c) (d) and 15 (2) (a) (b) of the Money Laundering (prohibition) Act, 2004.

But following a no-case submission by the accused, Ofili-Ajumogobia, on November 17, 2014, dismissed 38 of the counts for failure of the EFCC to prove the particulars of the offence.

Fani-Kayode, who is the Director of Media and Publicity of the Peoples Democratic Party’s Presidential Campaign Organisation, called two witnesses in his bid to clear himself of the remaining two counts.

Earlier on Thursday, the proceeding was stood down from around 9am till 1pm due to the absence Keyamo, who was said to have been stranded in Abuja due to the cancellation of his flight on Wednesday night.

When the case was called, Fani-Kayode, who was accompanied by heavy security presence, promptly stepped into the dock but a lawyer from Keyamo’s chambers, Mr. Festus Afeiyodion, told the judge that his principal had asked him to urge the court to stand the trial down till afternoon as he was stranded in Abuja.

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