A former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, has been fined N200,000 for being absent at his re-arraignment after rejecting the risk of having his bail revoked.
Naija News reports that Justice Daniel Osaigor of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos gave the pronouncement on Wednesday.
Giving his ruling, the judge said the court fined Fani-Kayode for failing to show up at his trial after writing five different letters to the court seeking adjournment on the same medical grounds.
When the case was called, the prosecutor, Bilikisu Buhari, 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.
Buhari told the court that these letters by the second defendant had become numerous and had also become an excuse for him to evade court.
But, Fani-Kayode’s counsel, Bobo Fred-Ajudua, cut in and informed the court that his client’s sickness was a recurring one, and had attended court regularly.
The lawyer urged the court to kindly grant an adjournment in favour of his client.
However, after going through the court’s file, the judge discovered that the second defendant had actually sought a similar medical excuse five times.
The judge 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.
Recall that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had charged Fani-Kayode alongside a former Minister of State for Finance, Nenandi Usman, a former Chairman of ALGON, Danjuma Yusuf and a limited liability company, Jointrust Dimensions Nigeria Limited.
The EFCC preferred 17 counts of money laundering to the tune of N4.6 billion against them, but they pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bail.
Justice Mohammed Aikawa who was initially the trial judge was transferred out of the Lagos Jurisdiction and the case was subsequently, assigned to Justice Osaigor.
The defendants were subsequently scheduled for re-arraignment.