A former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, on Wednesday told the Federal High Court in Lagos that he is suffering from a heart-related ailment.
His lawyer, Mr. Norrison Quakers (SAN), told Justice Rilwan Aikawa that the former minister complained about “heart-related pain” and could not make it to court for his trial.
Fani-Kayode’s absence stalled his trial for alleged money laundering.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) re-arraigned Fani-Kayode and former Minister of State (Finance), Senator Nenadi Usman for allegedly laundering N4.6billion.
They were arraigned along with a former National Chairman of the Association of Local Governments in Nigeria (ALGON), Yusuf Danjuma, and a company, Jointrust Dimensions Limited.
When the case was called, only Usman and Danjuma stepped into the dock.
Before lawyers announced their appearances, Justice Rilwan asked why Fani-Kayode was not present in court.
Quakers spoke up, saying: “I was going to inform My Lord that the second defendant is indisposed. I got a call from his wife who said he was complaining of heart-related pain.”
Quakers said he expected to get a medical report on his client’s health condition before the close of work.
According to him, the issue of health could not be taken lightly considering several cases of sudden deaths, including that of a lawyer who collapsed and died in a courtroom while addressing a judge.
Quakers asked that the dates reserved for trial (Wednesday and Thursday) be vacated.
He said: “The second defendant is unavoidably absent as a result of health challenge, which information was related to me by the wife. I have requested for a medical report.
“If I get the report, I’ll furnish the court with it. I apply that tomorrow’s (Thursday) date be vacated so that we can have another date for continuation of trial.”
EFCC’s lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, did not oppose the application.
The defendants were accused of indirectly retaining N1.billion, N300million, N400million and N800million, all proceeds of corruption, according to EFCC.
The prosecution said they allegedly committed the offence between January 8 and March 25, 2015 ahead of the general election.
Fani-Kayode was also accused of doing cash transaction of N24million with Olubode Oke without going through a financial institution.
The offence, EFCC said, violated sections 1(a) and 16(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 16(2)(b).
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Justice Aikawa adjourned till February 28, March 1 and 2 for continuation of trial.