Friday, April 18, 2014

My trial for money laundering is political persecution- Fani-Kayode

Published:

Femi Fani-Kayode

A former Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, has described his prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, as “political persecution.”

Mr. Fani-Kayode is accused of laundering N230 million through his aides, wife, and daughter; between 2006 and 2007 when he was a minister.

He pleaded not guilty to all 47 counts of corrupt enrichment when he was arraigned on Monday.

“It is nothing but pol(itical) persecution of the most vicious and cruel kind. We have been on it for five years and I have done nothing wrong,” Mr. Fani-Kayode said via his twitter handle.

Hours after news of his arraignment filtered into the public space, hundreds of his twitter followers and facebook fans trooped to both social media platforms with prayers and words of encouragement to Mr. Fani-Kayode.

Responding to his fans, Mr. Fani-Kayode, 52, said that he is looking forward to the trial.

“My innocence will and has always spoken for me,” he said in a tweet.

A prominent member of the former president Olusegun Obasanjo’s cabinet, Mr. Fani-Kayode was a Special Assistant on Public Affairs to the then Nigerian president.

In 2006, he became the Minister of Culture and Tourism, before moving on to head the Aviation Ministry later that year.

Earlier accused by the EFCC of involvement in the misappropriation of N19 billion Aviation Intervention Fund, the charges were later dropped.

The current charges largely concern cash lodgments made into his private bank account between August 2006 and March 2007.

The ex-minister was first arraigned before a Federal High Court in Lagos, on the same charges, in December 23, 2008; during the late Umar Yar’Adua administration.

After Ramat Mohammed, the trial judge, was transferred out of Lagos Division; the case was re-assigned to Binta Nyako, last year, before the latter was transferred out of Lagos.

Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, the latest judge, has fixed trial for March 11, 12 and 13, 2013.

Mr. Fani-Kayode is to be represented by four Senior Advocates of Nigeria, among other lawyers, including embattled lawyer, Wale Babalakin, who is also being prosecuted for laundering about N4.7 billion.

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