As Jonathan's witch-hunt continues, outspoken critic Femi Fani-Kayode ordered to be re-arraigned for money laundering

Femi Fani-Kayode
CC Global News

LAGOS, NIGERIA - A Federal High Court on Monday, ordered the re-arraignment of former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, facing charges of money laundering.

Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, who was recently mired in controversy surrounding her physical assault on a clerical officer attached to her office, gave the order while ruling on an application of objection filed by defense counsel for the accused, Femi Fani-Kayode. 

The prosecutor, Mr Festus Keyamo, on Jan. 27, filed an amended 40-count charge bothering on money laundering against Fani-Kayode and urged the court to order him take his plea. 

Fani-Kayode was first arraigned December 2008, on a 47-count charge of money laundering and he had pleaded not guilty to the charge.

He was then granted bail, at the time.

The prosecutor told the court that the offence contravened the provisions of sections 15(1) (a) (b) (c) (d) and 15 (2) (a) (b) of the Money Laundering (prohibition) Act, 2004.

But Adedipe objected to the amended charge preferred against his client.

He argued that the amended charge was invalid as it did not disclose the identity of the source from whom the accused allegedly obtained the money.

He further submitted that his client was therefore not in a position to take his plea in the matter and described the charge as “ incompetent”.

Ruling on the application on Monday, Ofili-Ajumogobia ordered the accused to take his plea.

She held that it was an abject misconception on the part of the defense counsel to have raised the objection in the first place.

"The charge against the accused is valid and hereby sustained. The objection raised by the defense counsel lacks merit and should not have been raised in the first place. The accused is hereby directed to plead to the charge.”

The judge also agreed with the Prosecution’s submission that the non disclosure of the identity of the giver or receiver of the money was immaterial and could not affect the validity of the charge.

She, therefore, adjourned the case to March 5 to enable the prosecutor re-arraign the accused on the charge of money laundering. 

Thus, as it has now become common place with the Jonathan administration, the current Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah, continues in that same role despite allegations and evidence of high level corruption (including egregious Code of Conduct violations) while the president continues his ill-advised witch-hunt of political opponents.