By Simdi Gloria:-
The Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday rejected the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s application for the arrest of a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode.
The agency had urged Justice John Tsoho to issue a bench warrant against the former minister because of his absence from his N26m fraud trial on Wednesday.
The EFCC’s prosecuting counsel, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, said the defendant had earlier failed to attend the proceedings of January 22, 2019, and October 21, 2020.
He urged the court to invoke Section 184 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 to order Fani-Kayode’s arrest and also asked the court to order the defendant’s surety to appear in court to show cause why he should not be ordered to forfeit the N50m bail bond.
But the applications were opposed by Fani-Kayode’s lawyer, Mr. Wale Balogun, who tendered a November 24, 2020, medical report of the Kubwa General Hospital, Abuja, which advised the former minister to observe bed rest till December 4, 2020, and also argued that the prosecution’s applications made orally were incompetent.
Balogun said the applications ought to be filed formally to enable the defence to properly debunk the facts alluded to in support of the prosecution’s prayers.
Ruling, Justice Tsoho rejected the prosecution’s applications solely on the grounds that the medical report presented by Fani-Kayode’s lawyer showed that he had justifiable reason to be absent from the trial on Wednesday.
Fani-Kayode was arraigned by the EFCC on 11 November 2016 on five counts, in which he was accused of laundering N26m he allegedly received from the then National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, to pay for an unspecified contract.
He pleaded not guilty to all the five counts.
He was granted N50m bail.
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