By Innocent Anaba
The planned re-ar-raignment of former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, Monday, suffered a setback.
This was because of an appeal before the Supreme Court against the decision of the Appeal Court, Lagos, which ordered the admission of his (Fani-Kayode) statement of account as exhibit in the ongoing trial before the lower court.
EFCC had charged the former Minister to court on a 47-count charge of alleged money laundering and economic crime to the tune of N230 million.
Fani-Kayode, who was first arraigned before Justice Ramat Mohammed on December 23, 2008, is said to have committed the economic crime while serving as Nigeria’s Aviation Minister and later Culture and
EFCC had attempted to tender Fani-Kayode’s statement of account, a move opposed by the defence counsel on the ground that the document sought to be tendered was not admissible in law.
The court in its ruling, upheld the defence argument and ruled against the admission of the the statement of account as exhibit.
Dissatisfied with the decision, the EFCC appealed at the Court of Appeal, Lagos, arguing that the fraud case cannot be proved without the statement of account being admitted as exhibit.
The Justices of the Appeal Court, in their ruling, upheld the appeal by the EFCC, and directed that Fani_Kayode’s statement of account be admitted as exhibit in the matter.
But when the matter came up, yesterday, before Justice Binta Murtala-Nyako of the Federal High Court, Lagos, who is the new judge handling the matter, it could not go on because of an application before the Supreme Court. The matter was, however, adjourned till December 15, 2010.
Fani_Kayode in the appeal before the Supreme Court, is arguing that the Justices of the Court of Appeal, misdirected themselves and committed grave miscarriage of justice by directing that the statement of account tendered by the EFCC should be admitted as exhibit in the matter.
Fani-kayode also wants the apex court to upturn the decision of the appellate court on the statement of account, arguing that the Appeal Court departed from the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Yesufu Vs. A.C.B (1976), 1 All NLR, 264.
He is further contending that no provision was made for the admissibility of a computer generated bank statement in the Evidence Act of 2004, and urged the Supreme Court to so hold.