A Federal High Court in Lagos state has fined former aviation minister and now APC chieftain, Femi Fani-Kayode for not been available for a re-arraignment of an alleged money laundering case.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had earlier charged Fani-Kayode alongside a former Minister of State for Finance, Nenandi Usman to court.
The anti-graft agency placed a 17-count charge of N4.6 billion money laundering against them. However, they both pleaded not guilty and were granted bail.
But in a recent development on Wednesday, October 13, Mrs Bilikisu Buhari, while announcing appearance for prosecution informed the court that on July 15, prosecution asked the court to adjourn the matter for re-arraignment of the defendants.
She told the court that on Oct. 11, prosecution received a letter from the second defendant (Femi Fani-Kayode) informing them that he had been given bed rest.
She also disclosed that letters by the second defendant (Femi Fani-Kayode) had become numerous, saying that he wrote them to avoid attending court sittings.
“Whenever he doesn’t want to attend court, this is the type of letter we get,” she said.
However, Fani-Kayode’s counsel, Ajudua, told the court that although his client’s illness was recurring, he had attended court regularly. He then appealed to the court to grant an adjournment in favour of his client.
At this point, the judge, Justice Osaigor decided to go through the court’s file and discovered that Fani-Kayode sought a similar medical excuse five times, reports claim.
Osaigor fined Fani-Kayode after he had gone through the court’s file and noted five different letters by Fani-Kayode seeking adjournment on medical grounds.
The judge asked his counsel to take one of two options: revocation of Fani-Kayode’s bail or the imposition of N200,000 fine to be paid before the next adjourned date.
The counsel chose the fine option.
In ruling, the court held: “The second defendant will pay a cost of N200,000 before the next adjourned date, as the recurring medical excuse has been a pattern that slows this trial.” The judge then adjourned the case until Nov. 30 for re-arraignment of the defendants