A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has discharged and acquitted a former aviation minister, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, of all corruption charges.
In her judgment, the judge, Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, said the prosecution’s case was “feeble” and failed to provide “copious evidence” linking Fani-Kayode to money laundering.
Fani-Kayode, whose trial began in 2008 before Justice Ramat Mohammed, was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for allegedly laundering about N100 million while he was minister of culture and tourism and subsequently, aviation minister.
The allegedly laundered sum was, however, reduced to N2.1million on November 17, 2014 after the court dismissed 38 of the 40-count charge levelled against Fani-Kayode for want of proof.
The EFCC prosecutor, Festus Keyamo, while urging the court to uphold the remaining two counts and to accordingly convict Fani-Kayode, said the former minister 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.
But Fani-Kayode’s lawyer, Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), in his summary argument, maintained that his client made no confession to the EFCC, adding that the anti-graft agency failed to show that Fani-Kayode actually accepted a cash sum of N1 million as alleged.
Adedipe said the EFCC also failed to show to the court the person who handed the cash sum to the accused person, insisting that for the case of the prosecution to succeed, it had to be proven beyond reasonable doubts.