Judge Displeased With Efcc For Re-arresting Fani-kayode
BEVERLY HILLS, November 14,(THEWILL) – Justice Sule Hassan of the Federal High Court in Lagos expressed displeasure with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for re-arresting former Minister of Aviation Chief Femi Fani-Kayode.
Fani-Kayode has been arraigned, with former Minister of State for Finance, Senator Nenadi Usman, former Chairman of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) and ex-Chairman of Kagarko Local Government Area of Kaduna State, Yusuf Danjuma and a company said to belong to him, Jointrust Dimentions Nigeria Limited on a 17-count charge of laundering about N4.6billion before the court.
They had pleaded not guilty and Justice Hassan granted them bail, however, the commission's agents re-arrested Fani-Kayode as he was stepping out of on October 21 when he came for trial.
He was then taken to the court's Abuja Division where he was arraigned before Justice John Tsoho on fresh N26million fraud charge.
When the case resumed before Justice Hassan in Lagos, on Monday , Fani-Kayode was absent and his lawyer, S. I. Balogun, told the court that Fani-Kayode was in detention at Kuje Prison having not met his bail conditions.
“When he was arrested in Lagos, EFCC did not exhibit any arrest warrant. The team leader said he was acting on orders from above,” he said.
“After his arraignment in Abuja, EFCC lied to the judge that it was through intelligence that Fani-Kayode was arrested and that he would jump bail. They never disclosed that he was arrested in court.
“As at this morning, he has been transferred to Kuje Prison. His family and friends have been making efforts to perfect his bail. We condemn in strong terms the prosecution's style.”
Responding, EFCC's lawyer Oyedepo Rotimi said the case in Abuja had no connection with the one in Lagos saying he was not aware that Fani-Kayode was rearrested within the court as he was attending to another case before another judge on the day of the incident.
“My attention was not drawn to his arrest in court even though I was before another judge,” he said.
“Fani-Kayode was arrested with a view to serving him with the charge and presenting him before Justice Tsoho for the purpose of his arraignment.”
However, the judge, stopping Rotimi declared that: “He was arrested in the court premises in flagrant disobedient of the order of this court and kept in detention for 21 days.
“In a civilised society, are you supposed to keep him in detention after he was granted bail?
“Instead of defending what you don't know, you should have simply said you were not privy to the facts of the case.”
Rotimi then apologised, saying: “In the unlikely event that your Lordship construes his arrest as disobedience to the order granting him bail, we apologise.”
The judge then declared that he would not make any further comments in order prejudice any application Fani-Kayode may file against his re-arrest and adjourned until December 12 for trial.
Story by Oputah David