Court remands Fani-Kayode, Nenadi Usman in prison over ALLEGED N4.9BN FRAUD - EazyFeeds

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Wednesday 29 June 2016

Court remands Fani-Kayode, Nenadi Usman in prison over ALLEGED N4.9BN FRAUD

Justice M. S. Hassan of the Federal High Court, La­gos, has ordered two for­mer ministers, Femi Fa­ni-Kayode and Nenadi Esther Usman, to be remanded in pris­on custody.

The court ruling followed their arraignment on Tuesday by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged fraud of N4.9 bil­lion.
Usman, who served as Min­ister of Finance, was the Direc­tor of Finance of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Pres­idential Campaign Organisa­tion while Fani-Kayode, a for­mer Minister of Aviation, was the Director Media/Publicity of  the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation.

Others arraigned with them on a 17-count charge bordering on conspiracy, stealing, corrup­tion and making cash payments exceeding the amount author­ised by law were Danjuma Yusuf and Jointrust Dimentions Nige­ria Limited.
According to the EFCC, the accused allegedly stole and ille­gally disbursed about N4.9 bil­lion belonging to the Feder­al Government for political and personal uses.
All the defendants pleaded not guilty to all the charges pre­ferred against them, which made Justice Hassan to order that they be remanded in prison custody until their applications for bail were filed and argued.
Two of the charges read: “That you, Nenadi Esther Usman, Femi Fani-Kayode, Danjuma Yu­suf and Jointrust Dimentions Ni­geria Limited on or about the 8th day of January, 2015, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, conspired amongst your­selves to indirectly retain the sum of N1,500, 000,000 which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the pro­ceeds of an unlawful act to wit: stealing, and you thereby com­mitted an offence contrary to Sec­tion 18(a) of the Money Launder­ing (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section15(3) & 4 of the same Act.
“That you, Nenadi Esther Us­man, Femi Fani-Kayode, Danju­ma Yusuf and Jointrust Dimen­tions Nigeria Limited on or about the 9th day of January, 2015, with­in the jurisdiction of this Honour­able Court indirectly retained the sum of N300,000,000 which sum you reasonably ought to have known form part of the proceeds of an unlawful act to wit: corrup­tion, and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(2)(d) of the Money Launder­ing (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) & 4 of the same Act...”
The prosecuting counsel, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, asked that the trial should commence immedi­ately, adding that the case be giv­en accelerated hearing.
But counsel to the accused: Fred Orbih (SAN), Ifedayo Aded­ipe (SAN) and S. I. Ameh (SAN) for first, second and third accused persons respectively, told the court of their applications for bail.
Rotimi, however, said he needed time to respond to the ap­plications and urged Justice Has­san to remand the defendants in prison custody, pending the con­sideration of the bail applications.
Consequently, Justice Hassan ruled that “since the prosecution was only served bail application yesterday, and in the interest of justice, it will be fair if the pros­ecution is given the opportunity to respond.”
He therefore ordered that the defendants be remanded in pris­on custody and adjourned the case till Friday for hearing of the bail applications.
Meanwhile, the trial of Azi­baola Roberts, a cousin of former President Goodluck Jonathan, in the alleged $40 million money laundering criminal charge, be­gan yesterday in Abuja.
A Federal Government wit­ness, Mr. Ibrahim Mahe, testified at the Federal High Court in Abu­ja that the former National Secu­rity Adviser (NSA), Col. Sam­bo Dasuki (rtd), instructed him to prepare a payment mandate of $40 million in favour of One Plus Limited.
Dasuki was the National Se­curity Adviser (NSA) in the im­mediate past administration while One Plus Limited is owned by Roberts.
Roberts and his wife, Stella, were arraigned on June 8, 2016 on a seven-count charge border­ing on money laundering total­ling about $40 million.
Mahe, who was the first wit­ness called by the prosecution, told the court that Dasuki had endorsed a memo to him with details of the company’s account.
He said the memo was sent to him in his capacity as the Per­manent Secretary, Special Service Office, a department in the office of the Secretary to the Govern­ment of the Federation.
“On Aug. 20, 2014, the NSA endorsed a memo to me which originated from the Director of Finance and Administration in the office of the NSA giving bank details of a company called One Plus”.
“The memo also gave details of the purpose for which the com­pany was to be paid the sum of 40 million dollars”.
“The NSA instructed me to prepare payment and my under­standing of that was that I should prepare the payment mandate for One Plus for his signature”.
“After I got the memo, I pre­pared the payment mandate, sent it to him; he signed and sent it back to me.
“The subsequent necessary action was for me to counter-sign, which I did and I sent it to the CBN for payment,” Mahe said.
Earlier, the lead counsel to Roberts, Chief Chris Uche (SAN) had urged the court for a short ad­journment.
Uche said he sought for the adjournment because he had not had ample time to meet with his client since he was granted bail to prepare his defence.
He said that when bail was granted, his team had difficulties in perfecting the bail conditions, adding that the conditions were only perfected last week.
He said they needed more time to prepare their defence because there were some docu­ments that they needed to sub­poena from the office of the NSA.
Uche also sighted indispo­sition as part of the reasons his team was asking for an adjourn­ment.
The prosecuting counsel, Mr. Sylvanus Tahir, however, objected to the application on the grounds that they had a witness already in court who was stopped from go­ing on lesser hajj on account of the trial.
Tahir said that they had pre­vailed on the witness to postpone his trip and not allowing him to give his testimony would amount to a waste of effort.
On the issue of indisposition, Tahir said the defence had about 19 other lawyers on the team and so even without the lead counsel, trial could commence.
The trial judge, Justice Nnam­di Dimgba, agreed with the pros­ecution that the trial should com­mence since the defence had sufficient time to prepare their defence.
Justice Dimgba adjourned the case till July 4 and 5 for continua­tion of the trial.

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