13th October, 2021
By Akin Kuponiyi
Justice Daniel Osiagor of the Federal High Court in Lagos has slammed a N200,000 fine on former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode for his failure to appear in court today.
He was expected to take his plea in a case of alleged laundering of N4.6 billion.
Justice Osiagor also threatened to revoke the ex-minister’s bail if he failed to show up at the next adjourned date.
The trial of the former Minister started sometime in 2016.
He was charged along with former Minister of Finance, Mrs Nenadi Esther Usman and the former Chairman of ALGON, Danjuma Yusuf.
Joint Trust Dimensions Nigeria Limited was also charged with the three defendants.
The case first came up before Justice Sule Muslim Hassan.
But it was stalled following the elevation of the judge to the Court of Appeal.
Even before Hassan left for the appeal court, the case file was transferred to Justice Rilwan Aikawa, on the ground that Justice Hassan, was formerly a legal officer with the EFCC.
The case suffered a drawback again at the court of Justice Aikawa, as he was transferred to Akure division of the court.
It was then it was re-assigned to Justice Daniel Osiagor.
At the resumed hearing of the case, the EFCC prosecutor, Mrs. Bilikisu Buhari, informed the court Femi Fani-kayode, who is the second defendant was not in court to take his plea.
She urged the court to revoke his bail.
Fani-kayode’s counsel, F. B. Ajudua, pleaded with the court not to revoke the bail.
He said a letter has been written on behalf of his client, that he is currently on ‘bed rest’, at Kubwa General Hospital, Abuja.
Ajudua also told the court that Fani-kayode, has been attending his trial since the matter commenced in 2016, and that today was the only day that he was not in court.
Ajudua, while apologizing for Fani-kayode’s absence, urged the court not to revoke his bail, and also asked for a short adjournment.
However, Justice Osiagor, after perusing the Court records, discovered that Fani-kayode had absented himself from the court five times.
Osiagor thus gave two options to Fani-Kayode’s lawyer: to accept revocation of Fani-Kayode’s bail or paying a fine of N200, 000.
Ajudua opted for the fine.
Thereafter, Justice Osiagor adjourned till 30 November 2021 and fined the former Minister N200, 000.
The judge said the fine must be paid before the next adjourned date.