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Fani Kayode’s trial stalled due to his remand in prison

THE trial of Femi Fani Kayode, a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, was on Monday stalled before a Federal High Court in Lagos, due to his remand at the Kuje prisons in Abuja.

Fani-Kayode is facing money laundering charges alongside a former Minister of Finance, Nenandi Usman, and Danjuma Yusuf.

At the resumed hearing of the case on Monday, Fani-Kayode was absent in court.

His counsel, Mr Wale Balogun, informed the court of his earlier observation that the EFCC was planning on arresting Fani Kayode.

“My lord, I recall that on October 21, I informed this court that the EFCC were planning an arrest of the second accused, and I remember that my lord advised that in view of his pending trial before the court, he should be invited were the need arises.
“My lord, on the said day, after the court had risen, the second accused was arrested within the court’s premises; I requested for an arrest warrant from the team leader who informed me that there was none, adding that the order was from above.

“The second accused was taken to the EFCC Lagos and kept there till 5pm when another order came from above to move him to Abuja immediately.

“My lord, the second accused was kept in custody of the prosecution for 21 days without any word, and finally, arraigned on November 10 before your learned brother Justice John Tsoho in Abuja, on a five count charge bordering on a N26 million sum.

“He was subsequently remanded at the Kuje prisons, and in view of this, we are helpless, as his bail conditions have not been perfected inspite of frantic efforts by family and friends.”

In response, the prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, told the court that he was aware of the arraignment of the second accused, but added that his arraignment before the Abuja division of the court, had nothing to do with the instant case.

He maintained that the subsequent arrest of the accused was with a view to serving him with the charge and not to disrespect the court.

He, therefore, urged the court to grant an adjournment so as to allow the accused appear and stand trial.

In a short ruling, the trial judge, Justice Muslim Hassan, said, “I will refrain from making any comment in relation to the arrest of the second accused in the court’s premises, inspite of being granted bail.

“This case is adjourned at the instance of the prosecution to December 12, while the earlier date of November 15 is hereby vacated.”

In the charge, the accused were alleged to have committed the offences between January and March 2015.

In counts one to seven, they were alleged to have unlawfully retained over N3.8 billion, which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act of stealing and corruption.