A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has fined a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, a sum of N200,000 for being absent at his re-arraignment, saying he stands the risk of having his bail revoked if he fails to pay the fine.
Justice Daniel Osaigor slammed the fine on the former minister on Wednesday, saying that having gone through the court’s file he discovered five different letters by the defendant seeking adjournment on the same medical grounds.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had charged Fani-Kayode alongside a former Minister of State for Finance, Nenandi Usman, a former Chairman of ALGON, Danjuma Yusuf, and a limited liability company, Jointrust Dimensions Nigeria Limited for money laundering of about N4.6 billion.
The EFCC preferred 17 counts of charges against them before Justice Mohammed Aikawa who was initially the trial judge until he was transferred out of the Lagos Jurisdiction.
However, they all pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bail.
The case was subsequently, assigned to a new judge, Justice Osaigor, and the defendants were scheduled for re-arraignment on Wednesday (October 13).
When the case was called, the prosecutor told the court that on July 15, the prosecution had moved the court to adjourn the matter for a re-arraignment of the defendants.
She said on October 11, she received a letter from the second defendant informing them that he had been given bed rest.
The prosecutor told the court that these letters by the second defendant had become numerous and had also become an excuse for him to evade court.
“This is the third time he will be writing this type of letter from the same hospital. Whenever he doesn’t want to attend court, this is the type of letter we get,” she said.
However, Fani-Kayode’s counsel, Bobo Fred-Ajudua, cut in and informed the court that although Fani-Kayode’s illness was a recurring one, he had attended court regularly, and this can be shown from the court’s records.
He urged the court to kindly grant an adjournment in favour of the second defendant.
But the trial judge after going through the court’s file discovered that the second defendant had sought a similar medical excuse five times.
The court then asked the defence counsel to take one of two options which were: to either revoke the bail of the second defendant or to impose a fine of N200,000 to be paid before the next trial date.
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