The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC on Monday re-arraigned a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, for an alleged fraud of N4.9bn.
He was re-arraigned before a new judge, Justice Rilwan Aikawa, after he objected to being tried before Justice Muslim Hassan of the same court before whom he was earlier arraigned on June 28, 2016.
A former Minister of State for Finance, Senator Nenadi Usman; one Danjuma Yusuf and a company, Joint Trust Dimensions Limited were equally re-arraigned before Justice Aikawa on Monday.
The 17 counts pressed against them border on conspiracy, unlawful retention of proceeds of theft and money laundering.
Fani-Kayode, who was the Director of Publicity of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s presidential campaign organisation for the 2015 election, was accused of conspiring with the others to, directly and indirectly, retain various sums, which the EFCC claimed they ought to have reasonably known were proceeds of crime.
In one of the counts, the defendants were accused of conspiring among themselves to “indirectly retain the sum of N1.5 billion which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act to wit: stealing.”
The four were also accused of indirectly retaining N300m, N400m and N800m, all proceeds of corruption, according to EFCC.
EFCC said they allegedly committed the offence between January 8 and March 25, 2015, ahead of the 2015 general election.
But as they earlier pleaded not guilty before Justice Hassan, the defendants equally pleaded not guilty on Monday.
Following a plea by Usman’s lawyer, Abiodun Owonikoko (SAN), Justice Aikawa allowed them to continue on the bail earlier granted them by Justice Hassan.
The matter was adjourned till June 6 and 9 for the commencement of trial and for the judge to rule on the defence’s request for the matter to be taken to Abuja.