The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission won an order on Tuesday to retrieve all of the documents it presented as exhibits in the N4.6bn money laundering trial of former Aviation Minister Femi Fani-Kayode.
The EFCC secured an injunction from Justice Daniel Osiagor of the Federal High Court in Lagos allowing it to re-file the charges before the court’s Abuja division.
The decision to transfer the case from Lagos to Abuja was made in response to the Court of Appeal’s decision, which said that the Abuja division of the Federal High Court, rather than Lagos, has jurisdiction to hear the matter.
The EFCC charged Fani-Kayode alongside a former Minister of State for Finance, Nenandi Usman; a former Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, Yusuf Danjuma, and a company, Jointrust Dimensions Nigeria Ltd.
In the 17 counts filed against them, they were accused of laundering N4.6bn in the build-up to the 2015 general elections.
In the middle of the trial before Justice Rilwan Aikawa in Lagos, the defendants challenged the jurisdiction of the court, on the grounds that the facts of the case happened in Abuja, rather than Lagos.
But Justice Aikawa dismissed their objection after which they went on appeal.
The appellate court later upheld the defendants’ appeal, holding that the Lagos court lacks jurisdiction over the case.
At the resumed hearing of the case on Tuesday, EFCC Prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), told the court that in view of the judgment of the Court of Appeal, all exhibits and documents tendered by the prosecution should be released to enable the commission to commence the matter afresh at the Federal High Court Abuja.
Justice Osiagor granted the application.
The EFCC charged Fani-Kayode and others with unlawfully keeping about N4.6 billion that they reasonably ought to have known were part of the profits of unlawful acts of stealing and corruption.