A Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday fixed December 4, 2016 to commence the trial of the embattled former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani Kayode in the case of N26 million money laundering charges brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The trial Judge, Justice John Tsoho fixed the date after the defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against him an he was granted bail to the tune of N50 million and a surety in likes sum.
Other conditions for the bail of the defendant, who was the Director of Media and Publicity in the Campaign Organization of former President Goodluck Jonathan, the Judge held is that the surety must have a landed property in Abuja.
The surety, the Judge held must produce the original documents of the property for citing and inspection before the Deputy Registrar, Litigation of the Court.
The defendant and the surety are both expected to produce two recent passport photographs and the defendant should submit his travelling document to the court.
Fani Kayode is facing a fresh five-count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of N26 million, he was said to have collected from the Office of the Former National Security Adviser (ONSA), Col. Sambo Mohammed Dasuki (rtd) and using same for media campaign for the former President Jonathan.
He pleaded not guilty to all the five count charges and his counsel; Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN) consequently apply for his bail.
Adedipe, while stating that the offence his client is being accused of is bailable, drew the attention of the court to the fact that Kayode, who was arrested outside the Federal High Court, Lagos premises was held for 21 days without a warrant of arrest or detention from any court of law.
He disclosed that 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 and urged the court to grant him bail on self recognition or on a liberal term.
Responding, prosecuting Counsel Johnson Ojogbane, said, although the defence had filed the bail application before the arrest and arraignment of the defendant, the prosecution had responded to only in good faith and in respect of the court, noting that it ought not to be so.
“Ordinarily, we should not have responded to the bail application since it was filed long before today, but out of respect to this honorable court and in good faith, we decided to respond,” Ojogbane said and urged the court to exercise his discretion judiciously in deciding the application.
Delivering ruling on the application, Justice Tsoho, held that the offence the defendant was accused of was bailable and desribed as mere speculation, the claim by the prosecution that the defendant was a flight risk and was likely to temper with evidence if granted bail.
He said there was no evidence to show that when the defendant was granted bail in the sister case, he breached the conditions of his bail.
Fani-Kayode is also standing trial in a 17 count charge of money laundering before the Lagos division of the court.
Count one of the charge reads: “That you chief Femi Fani Kayode on or about the 24th day of November 2014 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this court directly took possession or control of the sum of N26 million)paid through one victor Ehiabhi by one Salisu Shuaibu who was then Director of Finance and Administration on the instruction of Col. Sambo Mohammed Dasuki 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. Mohamed Sambo Dasuki 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 , 2016 to commence trial.