The former Minister of Aviation, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode, has instituted a contempt proceedings suit against the Mr. Lai Mohammed, the Nigeria’s Minister of Information, for listing his name in recently released ‘Looters List’.
Fani-Kayode, through his lawyer, Mr. Ferdinand Orbih, today, told a Federal High Court, presided over by Justice Rilwan Aikawa, that his application against Mohammed was brought pursuant to the provisions of the Sheriffs and Civil Processes Act, as well as the Court’s Civil Procedure Rules.
He said his application was seeking leave of the court, to serve the motion on notice, on the Minster of Information, alleged acts of contempt.
Orbih (SAN), also told the court that the Minister had had published a list of looters some weeks back, and had named the first accused as number 19 on that list.
According to Fani-Kayode’s lawyer, the defence views such act very seriously, as it is an attempt to interfere with the proceedings before the court, and portray his client as already guilty of the charges preferred.
He therefore, urged the court to grant the exparte application enabling the defence to serve the said motion on notice on the Minister in Abuja, by substituted means, as personal service may not be feasible.
He argued that the court possessed powers to order that the motion be served on any responsible senior official of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, and therefore, urged the court to grant his application.
In a short ruling, Justice Mohammed Aikawa held : “I have perused the application including the supporting affidavits and I am satisfied that the application ought to be granted.
“The application is granted, save that it should be served on his confidential Secretary in Abuja” he said.
In related development, the Court also adjourned until October 2, the Money laundering trial of a former Minister of State for Finance, Nenandi Usman, Fani-Kayode and others, charged with N4.6 billion fraud.
Usman, Fani-Kayode are charged alongside one Yusuf Danjuma, a former Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), and a limited liability company, Jointrust Dimentions Nigeria Limited, on a 17 county charge bordering on money laundering by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
All the accused had pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The accused persons trial could not proceed, due to the absence of the EFCC witness in court.
The prosecutor, Mr. Idris Mohammed, had told the court that his witness, who is to be cross-examined was indisposed, due to ill-health.
He said: “our witness who also resides outside the court’s jurisdiction, was pregnant and following medical advice, is currently on bed rest.
“On that premise, I urged the court to grant an adjournment.”
Lawyers to the accused persons, which comprises of: Mr. Ferdinard Orbih (SAN), Wale Balogun, and K. C Nwofo, did not oppose the application for adjournment.
Following prosecutor’s request and opposition not raised by the defence counsels, Justice Aikawa, adjourned until October 2, for hearing of the motion on notice, and for continuation of trial.
In the charge, the accused were alleged to have committed the offences between January and March 2015.
In counts one to seven, they were alleged to have unlawfully retained over N3.8 billion which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act of stealing and corruption.
In counts eight to 14, the accused were alleged to have unlawfully used over N970 million which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of an unlawful act of corruption.
Meanwhile in counts 15 to17 Fani-Kayode and one Olubode Oke who is said to be at large, were alleged to have made cash payments of about N30 million, in excess of the amount allowed by law, without going through a financial institution.
Besides, Fani-Kayode was alleged to have made payments to one Paste Poster Co (PPC) of No 125 Lewis St., Lagos, in excess of amounts allowed by law.
All offences were said to have contravened the provisions of sections 15 (3) (4), 16 (2) (b), and 16 (5) of the Money laundering (prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012.