Fani-Kayode’s money laundering trial stalled due to absence of Festus Keyamo For the umpteenth time, the absence of the counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Festus Keyamo, yesterday stalled the ongoing trial of former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, over alleged N230 million money laundering charge.
Fani-Kayode, who is standing trial before Justice Rita
Ofilli-Ajumogobia of the Federal High Court, Lagos, was
arraigned before the court by the EFCC on a 47-count
charge of laundering the sum of N230 million.
The trial was stalled on Thursday due to the objections
raised by Fani-Kayode’s counsel, Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN),
challenging the legal rights of Keyamo to assign a team of
lawyers from his chambers to represent him.
Adedipe had insisted that the team of lawyers led by Vitalis
Ahaotu could not appear in the matter because Keyamo
had no legal authority to delegate his law firm to practise
on his behalf.
The lawyer cited Section 24 of the Legal Practitioners’ Act,
and a 2007 Supreme Court decision in the case of Okafor vs
Nweke to back his argument.
“I object to the appearance of the chambers of Festus
Keyamo by his team of lawyers to prosecute this case.
“Keyamo is not authorised under the Legal Practitioners’
Act to assign his chambers to practise,” Adedipe said.
However, the Prosecution Counsel, Ahaotu, urged the court
to disregard the submission of the counsel to the accused
person, saying that the counsel should have filed such
submission so that they could give their reply.
At this stage, Justice Ofilli-Ajumogobia adjourned the case
till November 27 for further mention and to enable
Adedipe to file a written application within two days.
The EFCC had on Feb. 11, re-arraigned Fani-Kayode over
alleged money laundering and financial impropriety to the
tune of N230 million.