Justice Rita Ofili Ajumogobia of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos State, has deferred judgment in the case of a former Minister of Aviation, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode, till July 1, 2015.
She told the court on Thursday that she could not deliver judgment in the case, as earlier scheduled, owing to the absence of the lead prosecution counsel, Mr. Festus Keyamo, in court. "It is proper for the entire parties to be around for the judgment, I feel this is the right thing to do... it is better to have everyone present for the judgment”, she said.
Fani- Kayode is facing trial on a two- count charge bordering on money laundering. His trial began in 2008 before Justice Ramat Mohammed of the same court. He was accused by the EFCC of laundering about N100 million while he was the Minister of Culture and Tourism and later, the Minister of Aviation. On November 17, 2014, the succeeding judge, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia dismissed 38 of the 40 counts leveled against him.
At the resumption of his trial on Thursday, prosecution counsel, represented by Festus Afiyen, announced the absence of the lead counsel, Festus Keyamo, who was unavoidably absent due to his involvement in another matter where he was standing as a witness. “My lord, I regret to inform the court that Festus Keyamo who is the lead counsel in this matter, would not be able to make it, due to his handling of another important case where he is the principal witness. We regret this development, my lord”.
However, defence counsel, I.A Adedipe, sought the indulgence of the court to stand the matter down till 1p.m, hoping Keyamo would be available by that time, “My lord, I spoke with my learned colleague, Keyamo, just now and he told me that if the court can stand the matter down till 1p.m today, he would be around. My lord, we pray that the matter will be stood down, so that the judgment can be heard as scheduled”.
After listening to the defence counsel, Justice Ajumogobia turned down his prayer and adjourned judgment in the matter to July 1, 2015.
Head, Media & Publicity
18th June, 2015