Court awards N.2m fine against Fani-Kayode in alleged N4.6bn fraud case

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Court awards N.2m fine against Fani-Kayode in alleged N4.6bn fraud case

Justice Daniel Osiagor of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Wednesday, awarded a fine of two hundred thousand against a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani Kayode.

Fani-Kayode was ordered to pay the fine for his absence in court to take his plea in an alleged N4.6 billion fraud.preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)

Fani-Kayode, who was the Chairman of the 2015 Goodluck Jonathan Presidential re-election Campaign Organisation, is standing trial alongside Nenadi Usman, a former Minister of Finance; a former National Chairman of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria, ALGON, Danjuma Yusuf, and a limited liability company, Jointrust Dimentions Nigeria Limited.

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The defendants had all, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bail.

The trial of the defendants had first commenced in 2016 before Justice Muslim Hassan.

The case was subsequently, assigned to Justice Osaigor, and the defendants including Fani-Kayode who recently defected from the PDP to the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, were slated for rearraignment at Wednesday’s proceedings.

When the case was called, Mrs Bilikisu Buhari announced the appearance for the prosecution.

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 that on October 11, the prosecution 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.

But, 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.

At this point, the trial judge decided to go through the court’s file, and after searching, the court discovered that the second defendant had actually sought  similar medical excuse five times.

The court then asked the defense 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.

The defence counsel chose the latter option.

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