Former Minister of Aviation Femi Fani-Kayode was yesterday arraigned before a Federal High Court in Abuja on a five-count of money laundering.
The charge, which has Fani-Kayode as the sole defendant, was filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
He was alleged to have received through his police aide, one Victor Ehiabhi, the sum of N26 million paid to him by the former Director of Finance and Administration (DFA) in the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Shuaibu Salisu, on the instruction of the former NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd).
Ehiabhi and Salisu, through written statements, admitted paying the money to Fani-Kayode in cash.
The prosecution said Fani-Kayode handled the cash without going through financial institution as required under the Money Laundering Act.
Fani-Kayode, who was the director of Media and Publicity in the campaign organisation of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, is standing trial on a 17-count charge of money laundering before a Federal High Court in Lagos.
He is being tried in Lagos with a former Finance Minister, Nenadi Usman, Danjuma Yusuf and a firm, Joint Trust Dimension Nig. Ltd.
They were charged with unlawful retention, unlawful use and unlawful payment of money to the tune of N4.9 billion.
When the five-count charge was read to Fani-Kayode yesterday before the Federal High Court, Abuja, he pleaded not guilty.
Following his not guilty plea, prosecution lawyer, Johnson Ojogbane, asked the court for a date to begin trial.
Defence lawyer Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN) informed the court about the bail application he filed for his client.
Upon the court’s permission, Adedipe moved the application and urged the court to grant his client bail.
He said by the fact the offence for which the defendant is charged, it is bailable.
He said Fani-Kayode has been in EFCC’s custody for 21 days.
“My Lord, I will also like to draw your attention to the fact that the defendant is facing trial before Justice M. S. Hassan in Lagos and he has granted him bail.
“We hereby urge the court to grant the accused bail on self-recognition as he has twice served as a minister to the Federal Republic of Nigeria or in the alternative, grant him bail on liberal terms that will enable him attend his trial”, he prayed.
Ojogbane, while responding, relied on Section 35 (1)(c) and 35 (4)(a) of the Constitution in arguing that “although the defendant has been in custody for 21 days, we are still within the ambits of the law as the arrest and detention was done for the sole purpose of bringing the defendant to court.
“I therefore urge the court to excise its discretion judiciously and judicially in granting the accused bail,” Ojogbane said.
Trial judge, Justice John Tsoho, in his ruling, admitted the defendant to bail at N50million and one surety in like sum.
The judge said the surety must be a resident of the FCT and must have a landed property within the FCT.
He ordered that Fani-Kayode be remanded in prison custody pending the fulfilment of the bail conditions.
Justice Tsoho adjourned to December 14, 2016 for trial.