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N4.6bn fraud: EFCC To Retrieve Documents, Commence Fresh Trial Of Fani-Kayode, Others

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Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has concluded plans to commence afresh the prosecution of a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode and three others at the Federal High Court, Abuja on alleged misappropriation of N4.6bn and money laundering.

The EFCC on Tuesday obtained an order to retrieve all the documents it tendered as exhibits in the money laundering trial.

The EFCC obtained the order from Justice Daniel Osiagor of the Federal High Court in Lagos to enable it re-file the charges before the Abuja division of the court.

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The decision to take the case from Lagos to Abuja followed the judgment of the Court of Appeal, which held that the Abuja division of the Federal High Court, rather than Lagos, has the jurisdiction to hear the case.

The EFCC charged Fani-Kayode alongside a former Minister of State for Finance, Nenandi Usman; a former Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, Yusuf Danjuma, and a company, Jointrust Dimensions Nigeria Ltd.

In the 17 counts filed against them, they were accused of laundering N4.6bn in the build-up to the 2015 general elections.

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In the middle of the trial before Justice Rilwan Aikawa in Lagos, the defendants challenged the jurisdiction of the court, on the grounds that the facts of the case happened in Abuja, rather than Lagos.

But Justice Aikawa dismissed their objection after which they went on appeal.

The appellate court later upheld the defendants’ appeal, holding that the Lagos court lacks jurisdiction over the case.

At the resumed hearing of the case on Tuesday, EFCC Prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), told the court that in view of the judgment of the Court of Appeal, all exhibits and documents tendered by the prosecution should be released to enable the commission to commence the matter afresh at the Federal High Court Abuja.

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Justice Osiagor granted the application.

In the charges, the EFCC alleged that Fani-Kayode and others at various times unlawfully retained over N4.6bn which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of unlawful acts of stealing and corruption.

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