A Federal High Court in Lagos has discharged and acquitted a former aviation minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, of corruption charges.
The judge, Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, said the prosecution’s case was “feeble” and failed to provide “copious evidence” linking Mr. Fani-Kayode to money laundering.
Mr. 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.
EFCC prosecutor, Festus Keyamo, urged the court to uphold the remaining two counts and to accordingly convict Mr. Fani-Kayode, as the former minister failed to exonerate himself of the allegations.
Mr. Keyamo pointed out that the object of the charge was that Mr. Fani-Kayode transacted in cash sums above N500,000, which was the threshold stipulated by the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.
Mr. Keyamo had argued that Mr. Fani-Kayode admitted making such transactions in his confessional statement of Dec. 22, 2008 made to the EFCC.
“Once you cannot explain the source of the large sum of money found on you, you are guilty of money laundering. If the prosecution must show where the money is coming from, then the whole essence of the money laundering law is defeated.
“It is not in all cases that the burden of proof lies on the prosecution; the burden at this point shifts to the accused person,” Mr. Keyamo argued.
But Mr. Fani-Kayode’s lawyer, Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), in his summary argument, maintained that Mr. Fani-Kayode made no confession to the EFCC, adding that the anti-graft agency failed to show that Mr. Fani-Kayode actually accepted a cash sum of N1million as alleged.
Mr. Adedipe said the EFCC also failed to show to the court the person who handed the cash sum to the accused person.