The money laundering trial connecting with ex-minister of aviation Femi Fani-Kayode has been stalled because of the absence of the prosecution counsel, Festus Keyamo.
Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia of the Lagos Federal High Court selected not to deliver the verdict in Keyamo’s absence, while the lawyer was represented in court. The case is adjourned the case to July 1.
Fani-Kayode’s lawyer, Chief Ifedayo Adedipe, advised the judge to go on and deliver the judgment since it was ready.
Adedipe said the law did not make it required that a prosecuting counsel must be present before a judgment is delivered in a criminal case.
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The lawyer said even if someone is holding a watching brief for the prosecuting counsel, the verdict could still be announced.
But Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia repeated that she was more contented reading the judgment in Keyamo’s attendance.
Ofili-Ajumogobia stood the case down for 10 minutes to ensure the lawyer from Keyamo’s chambers, Festus Afeiyodion, to check from his principal the day he would be accessible.
After an hour of waiting, Afeiyodion told the judge that Keyamo requested for a short stand-down to allow him come, as he was handling another matter away.
“Mr. Keyamo asked that the matter be stood down till 1.30pm. By then, he would be through and be here personally. In the alternative, he suggested that any other day could be chosen and he will be here,” the judge said.
Meanwhile, the Afeiyodion said she would choose not to deliver the judgment under pressure as the day would have been far gone by that time.
Seemingly to show that the judgment was indeed ready, she presented a typewritten material on her tablet, saying she prefers to read it out at a suitable time.
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It would be recalled that ex-minister was blamed for making a transaction exceeding N500,000 on September 20, 2006, which was not done through a financial institution.
Fani-Kayode was supposed to have accepted N2.1 million in cash, which was paid into his personal bank account by his assistant, Supo Agbaje, while he served as the minister of culture and tourism.