Wednesday, 3 October 2018

N4.9bn Fraud: Court Adjourns Fani-Kayode, Others' Trial To Nov 16

Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos on Tuesday, October 2, 2018 adjourned till November 16, 2018 for ruling on an application for stay of proceedings filed by a former Minister of State for Finance, Nenadi Usman, in a N4.9bn fraud case. 

Nenadi is standing trial alongside a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode and a company, Joint Trust Dimensions Limited, on a 17-count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of N4.9bn.

At the resumed hearing today, October 2, 2018, counsel to the first defendant (Nenadi), Ferdinand Orbih, SAN, told the court that he had a motion dated May 2, 2018 before the court for stay of proceedings. 

He further told the court that the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, must appear before the court.

"Having reached this stage, my Lord, we cannot continue with the proceedings. The Minister of Information and Culture is a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and he made some pronouncements and publications against my client, whom he described as one of the looters. That he has told the world that she is a looter, then, the substantial trial must stop, " he stated

He further stated that the allegation was published in both the Vanguard newspaper of April 1, 2018 and The Punch newspaper of April 2, 2018 respectively. 

However, in his response, the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, opposed the application, saying " My Lord, this is a parasitic application. It has no bearing to this case. There is a procedure for seeking redress''.

He also told the court that the contents of the affidavit were not in sync with the attached exhibits.

"My Lord, this is a naked application. It is a mere allegation. Before the application, the allegations against the defendant was already in the public domain. There was no advertorial from the Ministry of Information and Culture. The reports were published by different newspapers. For a newspaper publication to enjoy any probative value, it must be satisfied by the National Library. But exibits N to N3 were not satisfied," he further argued

He also argued that the Minister of Information and Culture was not a party to this precedings.

Oyedepo, who also submitted that the various media houses in question are not parties to the case, said there was nothing connecting the Minstry of Information and Culture to the application.

"I urge the court not to grant this application. There was no any publication against the court. The defendant used this application to annoy the prosecution."he said

He also sought the leave of the court order to summon his third witness, saying,

"My Lord, I am yet to receive any medical report on the witness. I have to apply for a court summons to make her appear. She is very heavy and told us that the Doctor has placed her on bed rest. I demanded her medical report , but she refused to produce it."he said

Consequently, Justice Aikawa adjourned the case to November 16 and 29, 2018 for ruling on the application and continuation of trial.

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