Former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, who also served as spokesman for the Goodluck Jonathan presidential campaign organization in the 2015 election, former Finance Minister, Nenadi Usman, and Danjuma Yusuf are to remain in prison custody until July 4, 2016 when a court will rule on their application for bail. 

Justice Hassan today adjourned the bail hearings after a long argument between the prosecutor and the defense counsel. 

N.M. Anana, the prosecutor representing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), had filed counter affidavits opposing bail for the three defendants. He said he was opposing bail on the grounds that the defendants might unduly influence the case against them by intimidating witnesses, tampering with evidence, and hindering the investigation. He also noted that the medical documents filed by Ms. Nenadi Usman were undated, adding that it was impossible to determine whether the documents were recent or old medical reports meant to deceive the court into granting bail.

In their argument, the defense lawyers argued that the prosecutor’s reasons for opposing bail were lame, adding that all investigations ought to have been concluded before the case was charged to court. Ms. Usman’s lawyer remarked that it was common practice to conclude investigations before a case was brought to court. He therefore argued that there was no way his client could tamper with the investigation or evidence in the case. 

The defense lawyer also reminded the court that his client was abroad receiving medical treatment when she received an invitation from the EFCC, adding that she immediately arrived in Nigeria to respond to the summons and cooperate with the anti-corruption agency. He added that the EFCC’sdoctor examined his client and certified that she was sick. He argued that Ms. Usman’s medical condition and other factors warranted granting her bail on self-recognizance or,in the alternative, on liberal terms.

Lawyers defending Mr. Fani-Kayode and Danjuma Yusufalso urged the court to grant bail to their clients on self-recognizance or liberal terms. The lawyers stated that the EFCC did not hesitate to grant administrative bail to their clients, adding that they saw no reason why the commission would oppose their clients’ formal application for bail. 

Ifedayo Adedipe, counsel to Mr. Fani-Kayode, contended that the commission only opposed bail as a formality, and joined the other defense lawyers to ask the court to grant bail solely at the judge’s discretion.

Mr. Fani-Kayode had filed a case on June 2, 2016 at a Federal High Court in Abuja objecting to his detention by the EFCC, arguing that it amounted to a violation of his fundamental human rights. However, on June 29, 2016, Justice Adeboyega Adeniyi ruled that the EFCC was within its constitutional powers to have detained him for 50 days before he first appeared before the court.

On June 28, 2016, the EFCC arraigned the three defendants before Justice Hassan at the Ikoyi Federal High Court. All three defendants pleaded not guilty to the commission’s 17-count charge. The charges against them revolve around their alleged unlawful retention, use, and payment of monies amounting to approximately N4.6 billion.

They defendants were remanded in prison until the determination of their bail applications. 

Femi Fani-Kayode

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