Lukman Olabiyi |
The trial of Former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, over an alleged N4.9 billion fraud before the Federal High Court in Lagos was stalled yesterday due to his absence of the defendant.
EFCC had re-arraigned Fani-Kayode and Senator Nenadi Usman and one Danjuma Yusuf and a company, Joint Trust Dimensions Limited before, Justice Rilwan Aikawa on a 17-count charge of conspiracy, unlawful retention of proceeds of theft and money laundering.
At the resumed hearing of the matter yesterday, Fani-Kayode, according to his lawyer, Norrison Quaker, could not make it to court because he is suffering from a heart-related disease.
Quakers informed the trial judge 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 on Wednesday 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 the counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) urged the court to take judicial notice of Section 396 subsection 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.
According to the EFCC, the accused persons on or before January 2015, unlawfully retained the total sum of N4.6 billion, which they knew was a proceeds from an unlawful act.
While Usman, former Minister of Finance, under the 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.