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Fani-Kayode’s ‘heart-related ailment’ stalls trial

The trial of Femi Fani-Kayode, former minister of aviation, was on Wednesday stalled due to health related issues.

Fani-Kayode, who was the director of publicity of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s 2015 campaign organisation, is facing a N4.6 billion fraud charge at the court.

He is charged alongside Nenadi Usman, former minister of state for finance; Yusuf Danjuma, a former national chairman of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), and a company, Jointrust Dimensions Nigeria Ltd.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) preferred a 17-count charge of laundering about N4.6 billion against the accused.

They had each pleaded not guilty.

Norrison Quakers, counsel to the accused, said his client failed to appear in court as he was in the hospital for a heart-related ailment.

Quakers told the court that his client had complained of pains in his heart and had to seek medical help.

He prayed the court to grant Fani-Kayode an adjournment, while promising to provide a medical report to back his client’s claim.

Rotimi Oyedepo, counsel to the prosecutor, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), accepted the defendant’s prayer.

The request for adjournment was not opposed by Rotimi Oyedepo, the prosecutor.

After listening to counsel, Mohammed Aikawa adjourned the case till February 28, March 1 and March 2, for continuation of trial.

The EFCC had arraigned the accused on charges bordering on conspiracy, unlawful retention of proceeds of theft and money laundering.

They 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.

In counts eight to 14, the accused were alleged to have unlawfully used over N970 million which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of an unlawful act of corruption.

Meanwhile, 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, in excess of the amount allowed by law, without going through a financial institution.

Besides, Fani-Kayode was alleged to have made payments to one Paste Poster Co (PPC) of No 125 Lewis St., Lagos, in excess of amounts allowed by law.

All offences contravened the provisions of Sections 15 (3) (4), 16 (2) (b), and 16 (5) of the Money Laundering (prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012. (NAN)

Aikawa adjourned the case till February 28 and March 1 and 2.