Shuaibu Shahu, an investigative officer of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has told the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, how Femi Fani-Kayode, a former Minister of Aviation, received the sum of N350million from the Ministry of External Affairs through his Zenith Bank account without executing any project or rendering any service to the ministry.
Shahu said this on Wednesday before Justice Rilwan Aikawa, while giving a report of the commission’s investigation into the N4.9billion fraud allegation against the former minister, who also served as the campaign director of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Led in evidence by Rotimi Oyedepo, counsel to the EFCC, Shuaibu stated that the sum of N800million was transferred from the Ministry of External Affairs to a company called Joint Trust Dimension Ltd. on January 16, 2015. He said the funds were transferred without evidence of prior engagement with the ministry.
Alleging that the Joint Trust Dimension was used to divert the funds by Fani-Kayode, he said he tendered various Zenith Bank cheques that were used for the alleged fraud. He said the bank documents were recovered in the course of investigation.
However, as the anti-graft agency was about to tender a set of 115 Zenith Bank cheques used to make various withdrawals that constituted the alleged crimes, Norrison Quakers, counsel to Fani-Kayode, sought an adjournment.
He said the time asked was to allow him go through the cheques in the proof of evidence.
Consequently Justice Aikawa adjourned till Thursday, February 21, 2019 for further hearing.
Fani-Kayode, alongside Nenadi Usman, a former Minister of State for Finance, one Danjuma Yusuf and Joint Trust Dimensions Limited, are on trial for money laundering and conspiracy to commit crime.
The defendants are standing trial on a 17-count charge bordering on conspiracy, unlawful retention of proceeds of theft and money laundering.
Fani-Kayode was accused of conspiring with the others to directly and indirectly retain various sums, which the EFCC claimed they ought to have reasonably known were proceeds of crime.
In one of the counts, the defendants were accused of conspiring among themselves to “indirectly retain the sum of N1,500,000,000.00” which sum they ought to have known “forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act to wit: stealing.”
They were also accused of indirectly retaining N300million, N400million and N800million, alleged to be proceeds of corruption. Fani-Kayode was accused of directly using part of the money at various times, including N250,650,000.00, he allegedly used between March 20 and 25, 2015.
He was accused of making transactions without going through any financial institution, an act the EFCC claimed contravened sections 1(a) and 16(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012, and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act.
The defendants all pleaded not guilty.