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Published On: Wed, Mar 11th, 2020

Armsgate: Witness rejection stalls Fani-Kayode’s trial

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By Vivian Okejeme, Abuja

The rejection of a witness brought forward by the EFCC, yesterday, stalled the on-going criminal trial of the former Aviation Minister, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode at the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Fani-Kayode is before the court, for allegedly receiving N26m from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA),
According to the prosecution agency, this act violated the Money Laundering Act.
In the fresh charge with suit number: FHC/ABJ/CR/140/2016, the agency slammed a five-count charge in which it accused the defendant of diverting N26m ‘Armsgate’ money allegedly received from the ONSA while Col. Sambo Dasuki was in office.
At the resumed trial, the prosecution counsel, Mohammed Abubakar had brought forward one Mohammed, an investigative officer before the court to testify.
Abubakar told the court that the trial which started since 2016 ought to enjoy accelerated trial, saying his team was ready to go on with the trial with two witness on ground and another three waiting to take their turns.
According to the prosecution, the legal team would not like the case to be re-assigned to another judge.
But as the witness oath was about to be taken, an objection was raised by Adeola Adedipe who represented Ahmed Raji, SAN at the trial.
In his objection, the defence counsel argued that the witness name was not among the six names listed at the initial stage.
Adedipe who wondered why the prosecution decided to smuggled him in added: “Except the prosecution amend his list, the witness cannot be accommodated,”
In a short ruling, Justice John Tsoho declined to take the witness, saying the prosecution should do the needful by putting its house in order.
“There has to be rights to fair hearing as guaranteed by the constitution. I cannot find his (Witness) name on the list. I hereby overrule the prosecution arguments and urge him to do the needful,” Tsoho held.
The matter was then adjourned to 11th March, 2020 for continuation of trial.

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