Prosecutor’s absence stalls Fani-Kayode’s corruption trial

Mr. Fani-Kayode was alleged to have accepted cash payments of about N100 million, while he was Minister of Aviation, and Minister of Culture and Tourism respectively.

The absence of the prosecutor on Wednesday stalled the trial of a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, before a Federal High Court, Lagos,

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had charged Mr. Fani-Kayode to court on an amended 40-count charge bordering on money laundering

When the case was mentioned on Wednesday, the matter could not go on due to the absence of the prosecutor, Festus Keyamo.

Mr. Fani-Kayode’s counsel, Ifedayo Adedipe, therefore, asked the court for an adjournment.

The judge, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, expressed displeasure that the prosecutor was absent without writing a letter to the court that he would not be available.

“This court is displeased that the prosecutor did not have the simple courtesy of writing to inform the court of his absence.
“This is a case in which the accused attends court from outside jurisdiction, and so, it was wrong for the prosecution not to have intimated the court on his absence,” she said.

Ms. Ofili-Ajumogobia adjourned the case till May 14 for continuation of trial and ordered hearing notices to be issued on the prosecution.

Mr. Fani-Kayode was first arraigned in December 2008 before Justice Ramat Mohammed on a 47-count charge.

He pleaded not guilty to the charge and Justice Mohammed had granted him bail in the sum of N200 million, with two sureties in like sum.

The former minister was later re-arraigned before Justice Binta Murtala-Nyako, following the transfer of Ms. Mohammed from the Lagos Division.

He was again re-arraigned before Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia on February 11, 2013, after the transfer of Ms. Murtala-Nyako.

On March 6, following the EFCC’s amendment of the 47-count charge to 40-counts, the former minister was again re-arraigned before Ms. Ofili-Ajumogobia.

In the charge, the accused was alleged to have transacted with funds exceeding N500,000 without going through a financial institution.

Mr. Fani-Kayode was also alleged to have accepted cash payments of about N100 million, while he was Minister of Aviation and Minister of Culture and Tourism respectively.

The offence is said to contravene the provisions of sections 15(1) (a) (b) (c) (d) and 15 (2) (a) (b) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004.
Mr. Fani-Kayode has denied all the charges and alleged political persecution.

(NAN)

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