The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has adjourned the trial of a former Minister of Aviation Femi Fani-Kayode and three others to April 25th.
The prosecuting counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN) told Channels Television that the lead counsel to the former minister Norrison Quakers (SAN) had written to the court seeking an adjournment of the case to enable him to attend to some urgent personal issues.
In response to our enquiries, Mr Oyedepo noted that the senior lawyer is not given to frivolous adjournments and so the EFCC was not opposed to the request for the adjournment.
With the agreement of the parties in the case, the court subsequently adjourned to April 25th & 26th for the continuation of the trial. Mr Fani-Kayode himself was present in court today even though the proceedings did not go on.
The parties are before the court of appeal in respect of an appeal filed by the defendants on territorial jurisdiction.
Fani-Kayode is charged alongside a former Minister of State for Finance Nenandi Usman; a former Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) Yusuf Danjuma, and a company Jointrust Dimensions Nigeria Ltd.
The EFCC had earlier preferred a 17-count charge of N4.6 billion in money laundering against the defendants before the former trial judge Justice Mohammed Aikawa.
The defendants had each pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bail.
Hearing of the case had begun before Justice Aikawa and witnesses were being led in evidence before the trial judge was transferred out of the Lagos division.
The case was consequently assigned to a new judge Justice Daniel Osaigor and the defendants had to start the case from the beginning (de nouvo).
In the charge, the defendants were alleged to have committed the offences between January and March 2015 in Lagos.
They were alleged to have at various times unlawfully retained over N4.6 billion which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of unlawful acts of stealing and corruption.
In counts 15 to17, Fani-Kayode and one Olubode Oke, who is said to be at large, were alleged to have made cash payments of about N30 million to one Paste Poster Co (PPC) of No 125 Lewis St., Lagos.
The said payments were alleged to have been made in excess of amounts allowed by law without going through a financial institution.
All offences were said to have contravened the provisions of sections 15 (3) (4), 16 (2) (b), and 16 (5) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012.