The ongoing trial of former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode over an alleged N4.9 billion fraud before the Federal High Court in Lagos was today stalled due to the absence of the former minister.
Fani-Kayode, according to his lawyer, Norrison Quaker (SAN), could not make it to court because he is suffering from a heart related disease.
Quakers informed the Trial Judge, Justice Rilwan Aikawa that he was informed by Fani-Kayode’s wife that her husband had been taken to the hospital.
The lawyer promised to obtain his client’s medical report before the close of work today and make same available to the court on Thursday.
Based on the development, Quakers then sought for an adjournment which was granted without any objections from the other parties in the matter.
But Counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Mr Rotimi Oyedepo urged the court to take judicial notice of Section 396 sub-section 4 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 which states that: “no party shall be entitled to more than 5 adjournments in a particular criminal case.”
Oyedepo urged the court to note that the second defendant, Fani-Kayode, had now taken two adjournments in the matter.
Justice Aikawa fixed February 28 for the continuation of trial.
The EFCC had re-arraigned Fani-Kayode and former Minister of Finance, Nenadi Usman and one Danjuma Yusuf and a company, Joint Trust Dimensions Limited before Justice Aikawa on a 17 count charge of conspiracy, unlawful retention of proceeds of theft and money laundering.
According to the EFC the accused persons on or before January 2015, unlawfully retained the total sum of N4.6 billion, which they knew was proceeds from an unlawful act.
While Usman, former Minister of Finance, under president Goodluck Jonathan Administration, Danjuma Yusuf and Jointrust Dimentions Nigeria Limited retained the sum of N1.5 billion, Fani-kayode and Olubode Oke, said to be at large, were accused of retained the total sum of N1,650,650 billion.
The accused persons were also alleged to have made payment of several amounts running to billions of Naira without going through financial institutions.
The offence which was allegedly committed between January 2015 and March 2015 is contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) & 4 of the same Act.
They all pleaded not guilty to the charge and are currently on bail.