Justice Daniel Osiagor of the Federal High Court, Lagos has slammed a N200,000 fine on a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, for not showing up in court to take a new plea in the alleged N4.6 billion fraud against him.
Fani-Kayode is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alongside a former Minister of Finance, Nenadi Usman and one Danjuma Yusuf, a former Chairman of Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), and a company, Jointrust Dimensions Nigeria Limited.
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The trial first started in 2016 before Justice Sule Muslim Hassan, now a justice of the Court of Appeal, before the case file was transferred to Justice Rilwan Aikawa, who has also been transferred to another court.
But, Fani-Kayode failed to appear before the new trial judge, Justice Osiagor yesterday.
The prosecutor, Mrs Bilikisu Buhari, therefore, urged the court to revoke his bail.
However, Fani-Kayode’s counsel, F. B. Ajudua, pleaded with the court not to revoke his bail, saying that a letter had been written on behalf of his client that he was at Kubwa General Hospital, Abuja receiving medical attention.
But, the trial judge upon perusing the court’s records, discovered that Fani-Kayode had been absent from court for five times, the development the judge noted had stalled the smooth hearing of the case.
Justice Osiagor, therefore, gave two options of either to revoke his bail or a fine of N200, 000, 00 whereas his counsel opted for a fine.
The judge said the fine must be paid before the next adjourned date, November 30.
By Bolaji Robert, Lagos