EFCC has arrested Femi Fani-Kayode
Femi Fani-Kayode, a former Minister of Aviation, is currently being questioned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
On Monday in Lagos, officials from the anti-graft agency confirmed this to newsmen.
According to the sources, the former minister was asked to answer questions about the forgery of a medical report that he allegedly obtained to avoid his trial before a Federal High Court in Lagos.
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At around 1 p.m., Fani-Kayode and his lawyer were said to have arrived at the commission’s Lagos office.
As of the time of this report, he is still answering questions from EFCC investigators.
The commission stated that it would provide an update on the interrogation once its investigations were completed.
Fani-Kayode is on trial before Justice Daniel Osiagor of the Federal High Court in Lagos for an alleged N4.6 billion fraud.
On 17 counts of conspiracy, money laundering, and fraud, he was charged alongside a former Minister of Finance, Nenadi Usman, and two others by the EFCC.
Due to his failure to appear before the court for his re-arraignment following the transfer of the former trial judge, Justice Rilwan Aikawa, the judge imposed a cost of N200,000 on him at the court’s last sitting on October 13.
After failing to appear before the court for his re-arraignment, he was ordered to pay the fine or face having his bail revoked.
The same excuse
Instead of showing up for his re-arraignment, the former minister sent the court a letter claiming that his doctors had ordered him to be on bed rest.
Mrs Bilikisu Buhari, counsel for the EFCC, told the court that the second defendant’s letters had grown in number and had also become an excuse for him to avoid trial.
“He’ll be writing this type of letter for the third time from the same hospital,” she explained. “This is the type of letter we get whenever he doesn’t want to go to court.”
However, Fani-Kayode’s, lawyer Bobo Fred-Ajudua, intervened and told the judge that, despite his client’s recurrent illness, he had attended court regularly, as evidenced by the court’s records.
He then requested that the court grant an adjournment in his client’s favour. At that point, the trial judge decided to look through the court’s records, and after doing so, he discovered that the second defendant had previously requested a similar medical excuse five times.
The court then instructed the defence attorney to choose one of two options: revoke the second defendant’s bail or impose a fine of N200,000 to be paid before the next trial date.
“According to my records, the second defendant had written the court five times, requesting a medical leave of absence from his trial. February 1, 2018, May 30, 2019, November 24, 2020, March 21, 2021, and today’s October 9, 2021 letter.
“The second defendant must pay a cost of N200,000 before the next adjourned date, as recurring medical excuses have been a pattern that has slowed this trial,” the judge said.
The defence attorney opted for the latter.
Justice Osaigor then adjourned the case until November 30th, when all of the defendants will be re-arraigned.
The defendants were accused of unlawfully retaining over N3.8 billion in counts one to seven, which they reasonably should have known was part of the proceeds of an unlawful act of stealing and corruption.
Counts eight through fourteen charged the defendants with illegally using over N970 million that they reasonably should have known was part of a corrupt act.
In counts 15 to 17, Fani-Kayode and one Olubode Oke, who is said to be at large, were accused of making cash payments of about N30 million – exceeding the legal limit – without going through a financial institution.
All of the offences were said to violate the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012’s Sections 15 (3) (4), 16 (2) (b), and 16 (5).
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