Ruling On Suit Against Fani-Kayode, Others Deferred Till February 8

Nenadi Usman, Femi Fani-Kayode, EFCC, CourtA Federal High Court in Lagos has fixed February 8, 2017, to hear all applications challenging its jurisdiction in the case of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against two former ministers.

The defendants in the matter include a former Minister of Aviation, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode, a former Finance Minister, Mrs Nenadi Usman, one Danjuma Yusuf and a company, Joint Trust Dimensions Nigeria Limited.

They are standing trial before the court on a 17-count charge of alleged 4.9 billion Naira fraud.

The respondents have pleaded not guilty to the charges and after being granted bail by the court, the EFCC opened its case against them with the testimony of its first prosecution witness.

However, they have filed various applications before the court challenging its powers to hear the case.

At Tuesday’s proceeding, the defence lawyers refused to cross examine the witness, asking the court to hear and determine their various applications.

The judge in charge of the case, Justice Muslim Hassan, consequently fixed Wednesday to rule on their requests.

The defendants also challenged the choice of Lagos State, as the venue in a matter which they said had nothing to do with the state.

The former Finance Minister had also asked the court to separate her trial from that of the former Aviation Minister.

In a second application, Mrs Usman asked for the release of her passport to enable her travel abroad for medical treatment.

Mr Fani-Kayode’s lawyer also asked the trial judge to hands off the case on the basis that he once prosecuted for the EFCC.

Court Fixes Wednesday To Decide Jurisdiction On Suit Against Fani-Kayode, Others

Court, EFCC, Femi Fani-Kayode, Nenadi Usman, EFCCA Federal High Court in Lagos is set to rule on the challenge of its jurisdiction in the case of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against two former ministers and two others.

The court fixed Wednesday, January 18 for ruling after listening to arguments on the issue from lawyers in the matter.

The EFCC had arraigned a former Minister of Aviation, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode, a former Minister of Finance, Senator Nenadi Usman, and two others on a 17-count charge of laundering about 4.9 billion Naira.

They all pleaded not guilty.

At the resumed hearing of the case on Tuesday, the prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, concluded his examination of the first prosecution witness, one Mr Idowu Olusegun, a media consultant with Paste Posters Company Limited.

In his testimony which started in October 2016, Mr Olusegun told the court how he purportedly received about 24 million Naira cash in several tranches from the office of the Mr Fani-Kayode, who was the Director of Campaign Organisation of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

He explained that the money was meant for the printing of posters and flyers for former President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election.

The defence lawyers, however, declined to cross-examine the witness.

Call For Separate Trial

Counsel to Mrs Usman, Mr Abiodun Owonikoko, told Justice Muslim Hassan that in the light of pending applications before the court, the stage was ripe to request for the hearing of an application he filed since November 2016, seeking a separate trial for his client.

He stressed that he was concerned that his client would not get a fair hearing with the present joint trial.

Mr Owonikoko also expressed displeasure with the choice of Lagos State as the venue in a matter which he said had nothing to do with the state.

He told the court that it had become very tedious for his client to come from Abuja on every adjourned date and spend at least three days in Lagos, especially with all her accounts frozen.

On his part, Counsel to Mr Fani-Kayode, Mr Norrison Quakers, aligned with these submissions and urged the court to first hear applications touching on its jurisdiction.

He informed the court that he had recently filed an application challenging its jurisdiction.

Mr Quakers stated that to cross examine the witness would mean submitting to the jurisdiction of the court.

The EFCC prosecutor, however, objected to the arguments and insisted that the defendants had already submitted to the jurisdiction of the court after taking their plea.

He argued that all the pending applications could be taken together while the court proceeds with its ruling.

After listening to all the lawyers, Justice Muslim Hassan adjourned the case to Wednesday for ruling.

Court Adjourns Trial Of Fani-Kayode, Three Others Over Alleged Scam

Femi Fani-Kayode, CourtA Federal High Court in Lagos has shifted the trial of a former Minister of Aviation, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode and three others over an alleged 4.6 billion naira fraud to Tuesday.

The ruling was given after the defence counsel, Mr Norrison Quakers, told the court that he had just been briefed about the matter on Sunday evening.

He noted that he would need time to study the case file and requested for parties in the matter to meet with the judge at his chambers.

Mr Fani-Kayode’s lawyer added that the outcome of the discussions would help the court to arrive at an informed decision on the matter.

Counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nkereuwen Anana, however, opposed the request.

He maintained that any fresh issue on the matter should be raised in the open court.

Meanwhile, other defence lawyers, who weighed in on the matter, pleaded with the court to grant Mr Quakers’ request.

In a short ruling on Monday, Justice Hassan declined to grant any audience at his chambers with parties in the matter.

He asked Mr Fani-Kayode’s lawyer to put forward his thoughts in a formal application.

The judge consequently adjourned further hearing on the matter till Tuesday, January 17.

The EFCC had on June 28, 2016 arraigned the former minister and three others on a 17-count charge over an alleged fraud.

The other defendants are a former Minister of State for Finance, Mrs Nenadi Usman, one Danjuma Yusuf and a company, Joint Trust Dimensions Nigeria Limited.

They all pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bail by the court.