A Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday July 1, 2015 discharged and acquitted the former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, of the money laundering charges.
Fani-Kayode, whose trial started in 2008 before Justice Ramat Mohammed, was accused by the Economic and Financial crimes Commission (EFCC) of having laundered about N100 million while he was the Minister of Culture and Tourism and subsequently, Aviation Minister.
Fani-Kayode was spokesperson for the former President Goodluck Jonathan’s campaign committee during the 2015 election.
The allegedly laundered amount was later slashed to N2.1million on November 17, 2014 after Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia dismissed 38 out of the 40-count levelled against Fani-Kayode for want of proof.
The EFCC prosecutor, Keyamo, while urging the court to uphold the remaining two counts and to accordingly convict Fani-Kayode, said the former minister had failed to exonerate himself of the allegations.
Keyamo pointed out that the object of the charge was that Fani-Kayode transacted in cash sums above N500,000, which was the threshold stipulated by the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.
Keyamo had argued that Fani-Kayode had admitted making such transactions in his confessional statement of December 22, 2008 made to the EFCC.
He said: “In this statement, he admitted that he transacted in cash above N500,000. My Lord, this statement went in without objection by the accused person and the statement was voluntary.
“With the combination of this confessional statement and the statement of the IPO that investigated the allegation, we rely on all of this to submit that we have discharged our burden that monies were received by the accused person in cash and were not done through any financial institution.”
Delivering judgment on Wednesday, Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia described the EFCC’s case as “feeble” and duly discharged Fani-Kayode in the absence of “copious evidence.”
According to the judge, he EFCC’s case against Fani Kayode was unproven and ambiguous