Fani-Kayode knows fate on June 18 in money laundering case
JUSTICE Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia of the Federal High Court, Lagos yesterday fixed June 18 to deliver judgment in the alleged money laundering case involving Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode, the former minister of Aviation.
Fani-Kayode is standing trial before the judge on charges slammed on him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Justice Ajumogobia fixed the date after the adoption and argument of written addresses by the anti-graft agency and the accused on Monday.
Adopting his address, counsel to Fani-Kayode, Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN) said the prosecution failed to lead evidences with regards to the money allegedly accepted by the accused.
He said: “The prosecution had alleged that the accused received the sum of N1 million in the charge but none of the prosecution witnesses testified as to given any money to the accused.
The accused has never confessed to receiving any money as claimed by the prosecution.” Adedipe, while urging the court to dismiss the charges and discharge and acquit his client maintained that the burden of proof is on the prosecution and it has failed woefully in this regard.
On his own submissions, counsel to EFCC, Festus Keyamo, while admitting that the offence committed is in the receipt of the cash, stated that, “the prosecution’s point of divergence is the insistence of the defence that someone must come to show that the accused indeed collected the money.”
According to him, the prosecution has disposed its burden when it disclosed that large sum of money were found on the accused. “After this point, the burden shifted to the accused to indeed show where the money came from,” he said.
During Monday’s proceedings, Justice Ajumogobia, in her ruling also granted Fani-Kayode’s application to change his surety. The accused had at the last hearing of the matter, through his counsel, Adedipe, and Olawale Akoni both SAN, informed the court of his intention to change one of his sureties, Wale Ajisebutu, and replace same with one, Ogbor Kehinde Elliot.
The application was brought pursuant to Section 134 (1) of the criminal procedure Act Cap. C41 Laws of Federation of Nigeria, and under the inherent jurisdiction of the court. In the application, the former minister is seeking for an order of the court discharging Wale Ajisebutu as surety and replacing him with Ogbor Kehinde Elliot.
He also sought an order of the court directing the Deputy Chief Registrar (DCR) of the court to release the title document(s) deposited by Mr. Ajisebutu to him in fulfillment of his bail terms, and replace them with the title documents of Mr. Elliot.
The motion on notice was supported by a 13 paragraph-affidavit, deposed to by one, Hadhrat Folawiyo. The application was not opposed by Keyamo.
On the order made by the court for the release of Fani-Kayode’s international passport, Akoni informed the court that the DCR reliably informed him that the anti-graft agency had complied with the court order by returning the international passport.
At the trial of the former minister, EFCC has called four witnesses, while the defence only called two witnesses.
Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia had earlier dismissed 38 out of the 40 counts against the accused. The judge, however, said the accused would need to prove his innocence in respect of counts 25 and 26 of the charges.
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