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EFCC re-arrests Fani-Kayode, as court adjourns alleged fraud trial 

 

Akeem Nafiu

A former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, was on Tuesday re-arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) within the premises of the Federal High Court in Lagos over alleged forgery.

The scenario played out after Justice Daniel Osiagor adjourned further hearing in his trial over alleged N4.6 billion fraud to January 24, 2022.

Fani-kayode was still at the corridor of the court when an EFCC investigator, Shehu Shuaibu, walked up to him alongside a lawyer in the Commission and after some discussions, the former minister entered his vehicle and followed the operative.

The operative, who confirmed the arrest to journalists, said Fani-Kayode was in EFCC’s Lagos office for questioning over alleged forgery. It would be recalled that the former minister was also recently quizzed over the allegation.

Prior to his arrest, further hearing in trial of Fani-Kayode alongside a former Minister of Finance, Mrs. Nenadi Esther Usman, a former ALGON Chairman, Danjuma Yusuf, and a firm, Jointrust Dimentions Nigeria Limited, over an alleged N4.6 billion fraud was stalled before Justice Daniel Osiagor.

The matter was adjourned owing to the absence of one of the defence lawyers, Chief Ferdinand Orbih (SAN), who wrote a letter to the court requesting for another hearing date.

Responding, EFCC’s lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, was not opposed to Orbih’s request. He, however, informed the court that the prosecution was glad that the court has figured out from its records that Fani Kayode had sought repeated excuses from the court. He added that the prosecution had recently discovered that all letters sent by Fani-Kayode were fake.

At this point, Justice Osiagor intervened saying it was a matter the agency ought to have thrashed out before the court acted on the letters to grant an adjournment. The judge said having granted an adjournment on the letters, the court has become ‘functus officio’.

In response, Oyedepo told the court that the EFCC was currently working on the report and will do the needful.

The prosecution of Fani-Kayode and others had commenced since 2016 before Justice Muslim Hassan. The judge later recused himself from the case following a petition by Fani-Kayode alleging that he was formerly a legal officer with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The case was subsequently transferred to Justice Rilwan Aikawa. However, midway to the defendants’ trial, Justice Aikawa was transfered out of Lagos to another jurisdisction of the court. This led to the transfer of the case to Justice Osiagor for the matter to commence afresh.

The EFCC in a 17-count charge marked FHC/L/C/251c/2016, alleged that the accused persons had on or before January 2015, unlawfully retained the total sum of N4.6 billion said to be proceeds of an unlawful act.

 

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