Justice Daniel Osaigor of a Federal High Court in Lagos, on Wednesday, October 13, ordered a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, to pay N200,000 for not making himself available for re-arraignment for alleged money laundering.
Osaigor said that he had gone through the court’s file and noted five different letters by Fani-Kayode seeking adjournment on the same medical grounds.
The court, consequently, ordered that he should pay the sum or risk revocation of his bail.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had charged Fani-Kayode alongside a former Minister of State for Finance, Nenadi Usman.
Also charged is Yusuf Danjuma, a former Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, and a company, Jointrust Dimentions Nig. Ltd.
The EFCC preferred a 17-count charge of N4.6 billion money laundering against them before Justice Mohammed Aikawa.
They had all pleaded not guilty and were granted bail.
The trial had begun before Aikawa and witnesses being led in evidence before the judge was transferred out of the Lagos jurisdiction of the court.
The case was consequently assigned to Osaigor and the defendants scheduled for re-arraignment on Wednesday.
When the case was called on Wednesday, Mrs Bilikisu Buhari, announced an appearance for prosecution.
Mr I.J. Ogechukwu appeared for the first defendant (Usman), Mr B.F. Ajudua appeared for the second defendant (Fani-Kayode) and Y. Olabode appeared for the third and fourth defendants.
Buhari told the court that letters by the second defendant 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 urged the court to grant an adjournment in favour of his client.
The judge asked his counsel to take one of two options: revocation of Fani-Kayode’s bail or to the imposition of a N200,000 fine to be paid before the next adjourned date.
The counsel chose the fine option.
He adjourned the case until Nov. 30 for re-arraignment of the defendants.
The EFCC has alleged that the defendants committed the offences from January to March 2015.
In counts one to seven, the EFCC alleged that they unlawfully retained over N3.8 billion; which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of proceeds of stealing and corruption.
In counts eight to 14, the defendants were alleged to have unlawfully used over N970 million; which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of corruption.
In counts 15 to 17, the EFCC said that Fani-Kayode and one Olubode Oke, who is at large, made cash payments of about N30 million, in excess of the maximum amount allowed by law.