Court orders release of documents in money laundering trial of Usman, Fani-Kayode, others

By Sandra Umeh
A Federal High Court on Tuesday ordered the release of processes and documents in the money laundering trial of a former Minister of State for Finance, Nenandi Usman and others to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EDCC).

The prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, made an application before Justice Daniel Osiagor, to release all documentary evidences or processes in the suit, following the decision of an appellate court.

Usman, is charged alongside a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode and Yusuf Danjuma, a former Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON).

Also charged is a company, Jointrust Dimentions Nigeria Ltd.

EFCC had preferred a 17-count charge bordering on N4.6 billion money laundering against them before a former judge, Justice Mohammed Aikawa.

The defendants had each pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bails.

Trial had began before Justice Aikawa and witnesses were still being led in evidence, until Aikawa was transferred out of the Lagos division.

The charge was consequently, re-assigned to a new judge, Justice Daniel Osaigor, and they were consequently, re-arraigned on Jan. 24. 2022.

Again, trial had since commenced in the case and witnesses were still giving evidences before the court.

However, following an appeal filed by Usman, seeking a transfer of the case on jurisdictional grounds, the court of appeal had found in favour of the defendant.

When the case was called on Tuesday, Oyedepo announced appearance for the prosecution, and informed the court of the appellate court’s decision, directing that the case be transfered to the Abuja division of the court.

He, also informed the court that it is still the case of the prosecution adding that the prosecution is still leading evidence as PW 1 was still testifying.

He, consequently, sought an application for the release of all documentary evidences and exhibits in the case to the prosecution, so as to save time and avoid delay

In a short ruling , Justice Osiagor held that in line with the decision of the appellate court, all documentary evidences as well as exhibits tendered , be released to the prosecution.

In the charge, the defendants were alleged to have committed the offences between January and March 2015 in Lagos.

They were alleged to have at various times, unlawfully retained over N4.6 billion which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful acts of stealing and corruption.

Meanwhile in counts 15 to17 Fani-Kayode and one Olubode Oke who is said to be at large, were alleged to have made cash payments of about N30 million, in excess of the amount allowed by law, without going through a financial institution.

The said payments are alleged to have been made to one Paste Poster Co (PPC) of No 125 Lewis St., Lagos, in excess of amounts allowed by law..

All offences were said to have contravened the provisions of sections 15 (3) (4), 16 (2) (b), and 16 (5) of the Money laundering (prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012. (NAN)