Former minister of Aviation and director of Media and Publicity in the Campaign Organisation of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Femi Fani-Kayode was, yesterday, arraigned by the Federal Government before a Federal High Court, in Abuja, on a five-count charge of money laundering of N26 million.
Moving Fani-Kayode bail’s application, his counsel, Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN) told the court that he had a pending application seeking bail of his client and urged the court to grant him bail considering the fact the offence for which the defendant was charged is bailable and the defendant has been in 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 granted him bail. We urge the court to grant the accused bail on self recognition as he has twice served as a minister or, in the alternative, grant him bail on liberal terms that will enable him attend his trial.
He disclosed that Fani-Kayode was earlier granted bail in a sister case where he was accused of misappropriating N1.2 billion and had not breached the terms of his bail. Counsel to the EFCC, Johnson Ojogbane asked the court for a date to commence trial and added that although the defence filed the bail application before the arrest and arraignment of the defendant, the prosecution responded only in good faith and in respect of the court and noted that it ought not to be so.
He urged the court to exercise discretion and judiciously, too, in deciding the application. Delivering ruling on the application, Justice John Tsoho held that the offence the defendant was accused of was bailable and described as mere speculation, a claim by the prosecution that the defendant was a flight risk and was likely to tamper with evidence, if granted bail.
The judge said there was no evidence to show that when the defendant was granted bail in the sister case, he breached conditions of his bail.
Justice Tsoho, however, admitted Fani-Kayode, who pleaded not guilty to all the counts, to bail in the sum of N50 million and one surety in like sum. The surety must be a resident of the Federal Capital territory (FCT) and must have a landed property within the FCT. The surety was expected to produce original documents of the property for sighting and inspection before the Deputy Registrar, Litigation.
The court, however, ordered that the defendant be remanded in Kuje Prison pending perfection of his bail condition. The defendant and the surety are expected to produce two recent passport photographs, while he is expected to submit any travelling document with him and would only get the same from the court if the need arises. Fani-Kayode is already standing trial in a 17-count charge of money laundering before the Lagos division of the court.
One of the counts read that “Femi Fani-Kayode, on or about November 24, 2014 in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this court directly took possession or control of N26 million paid through one Victor Ehiabhi by one Shuaibu Salisu, who was the Director of Finance and Administration on the instructions of ex-National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd).”
Former National Security Adviser, purporting the money to be payment for contract when you reasonably ought to have known that the said fund formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful activity of Col. Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (retd) and Shuaibu Salisu to wit: Criminal breach of Trust and Corruption and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(2), (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended in 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.” Justice Tsoho, has fixed December 14 for trial.