Fani-Kayode cleared of corruption charges
Written by Taiwo Adediran on July 1, 2015
The Federal High Court in Lagos today discharged and acquitted a former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, of the money laundering charges filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia held that the prosecution did not prove beyond reasonable doubt that he was guilty as charged.
She described EFCC’s case as “feeble,” adding that the testimony of the fourth prosecution witness (PW4) Supo Agbaje, who testified that Fani-Kayode gave him cash to pay into his account was not reliable.
According to her, the PW4′s testimony was contradictory, even as the prosecution did not show proof that Fani-Kayode received the money in cash.
“Any doubt must be resolved in favour of the accused person,” the judge said.
She added: “The solitary issue for determination is whether the prosecution has been able to prove beyond reasonable doubt the elements of the offence committed.
“The giver of the money to PW4 remains unclear. The oral testimony of PW4 before this court is at variance with his earlier voluntary submission before the EFCC.
“I find unreliable the testimony of PW4 that it was the accused person that gave him the sums of money to pay into his account.
“His testimony before this court seems to be an afterthought by the fact that PW4 who was stated by the prosecution to be at large initially suddenly resurfaced to give testimony on behalf of the prosecution.
“The law is trite that where there are two or more conflicting testimonies by a witness, such testimonies must be discarded by the court,” the judge said.
One of Fani-Kayode’s witnesses had claimed that the monies were proceeds of rent paid by those living in the former minister’s estate.
Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia said although the claim was also doubtful, the source and motive of receiving the money is irrelevant since the issue was about cash transactions exceeding N500,000 without going through a financial institution.
“I do not agree with the prosecution that evidence of deposits in the bank account of the accused person without more is sufficient evidence to show that the latter received cash payments from unknown sources of sums above the statutory threshold of N500,000.
“The fallacy in such argument lies in the fact that it would remain unclear as to whether the accused person received the alleged sums in tranches,” she said.