Lagos - A Federal High Court Lagos on Wednesday fixed December 2 for the prosecution to file a written address on the propriety of its prosecution of former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode.
Fani-Kayode is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), through Lagos lawyer, Festus Keyamo, on an amended 47-count charge of money laundering.
When the case was mentioned, Counsel to the accused, Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), informed the court that the defence had served its written address on the prosecution, challenging the appearance of a lawyer from Keyamo’s chambers.
The prosecutor, Vitalis Ahaotu, a Counsel from Keyamo’s chambers, however, told the court that he had just been served with the processes and would require time to file and serve his own address.
After hearing the counsel, the trial judge, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia adjourned the case to Dec. 2 for the prosecution to regularise.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Ahaotu had been the counsel representing the prosecution in the case.
The defence had however raised an objection to the appearance of Ahaotu in the suit and argued that Keyamo, his principal was the proper person to handle the case.
Citing the provisions of Section 24 of the Legal Practitioners Act, Adedipe argued that since the fiat of the Attorney General was given to Keyamo, he ought to be the rightful person to handle the case.
Ahaotu had, however, argued that although Keyamo, possessed the fiat of the attorney-general, such power of prosecution by extension, covered lawyers working in his chambers.
Following the arguments, Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia had then ordered both counsel to address the court on the issue.
NAN reports that Fani-Kayode was re-arraigned on February 11, on the amended 47-count charge.
He had pleaded not guilty and was granted bail.
In the charge, the accused was alleged to have had transactions with funds exceeding N500, 000 without going through a financial institution.
The accused was also alleged to have accepted cash payments amounting to N230million, while he was in office as Minister of Aviation and Minister of Culture and Tourism respectively.
The offence is said to contravene the provisions of Sections 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (prohibition) Act, 2004.