The money laundering trial involving a former Minister of Finance, Nenadi Usman and Femi Fani-Kayode, was stalled at the Federal High Court, Lagos, on Monday due to the absence of the presiding judge, Justice Rilwan Aikawa.
Although counsel was informed that the absence of the judge had nothing to do with the COVID-19, a new date for continuation of the trial will be communicated to parties.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) charged Usman alongside Fani-Kayode, a former Minister of Aviation, Yusuf Danjuma, a former Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) and a company, Jointrust Dimentions Nigeria Ltd.
EFCC preferred a 17-count charge of N4.6billion money laundering against them.
They had each pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bails.
Meanwhile, as part of efforts to maintain safety following the recent outbreak of the coronavirus, Covid-19, all entrants to the court’s premises were screened on Monday.
Those screened include court officials, lawyers, litigants as well as visitors to the court.
All entrants queued outside the court, while the security personnel manning the gate used an infrared forehead thermometer to scan through every court entrant.
Hand sanitisers were also made available to all entrants.
In the charge against the defendant’s, they were alleged to have committed the offence between January and March 2015.
In counts one to seven, they were alleged to have unlawfully retained over N3.8 billion which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act of stealing and corruption.
In counts eight to 14, the defendants were alleged to have unlawfully used over N970 million which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of an unlawful act of 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.
Besides, Fani-Kayode was alleged to have made payments to one Paste Poster Co (PPC) of No 125 Lewis St., Lagos, in excess of amounts allowed by law.juui
All offence was 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.