A former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, on Monday, indicated his willingness to explore settlement options in his trial before a Federal High Court in Abuja on charges of fraud involving N26m which he allegedly received from the Office of the National Security Adviser in 2014.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had, on November 11, 2016, arraigned Fani-Kayode on five counts including alleged diversion of N26m, which he allegedly received from the then NSA, Sambo Dasuki, to pay for an unspecified contract.
His lawyer, Mr. Ahmed Raji (SAN), who had just taken over the former ex-minister’s defence, expressed his client’s intention for a settlement with the EFCC when the case came up before Justice John Tsoho on Monday.
The prosecuting counsel, Mr. Johnson Ojogbane, had earlier informed the court that he was ready to commence trial with three of his witnesses present in court.
But responding, Raji urged the court to adjourn the matter to enable him to familiarise himself with the case.
He also said his client would use the period before the next trial date to explore other options without necessarily having to go through a full trial.
Raji stated, “I urge my lord to adjourn to enable me to familiarise with the case, to look at the facts of the case and the amount involved.
“I believe there are other options rather than a full trial.”
He noted that he had reached an agreement with the prosecution for the adjournment of the case.
Ojogbane confirmed that the defence lawyer had approached him for a possible adjournment of the case.
He said he was not opposed to the application for adjournment, but noted that the matter had been adjourned twice at the instance of the defendant.
He therefore urged the court to fix a date for a definite hearing of the case.
He said, “The learned silk actually spoke with me.
“While I’m not opposed to the application, I will like the court to take cognisance of the fact that this is the second adjournment at the instance of the defendant.
“At the last date, the defendant was unavoidably absent because I was told he was sick.
“I therefore urge the court to adjourn for a definite hearing date of this case.”
The judge then adjourned till March 14.
The EFCC accused the ex-minister of receiving the N26m from the Office of the NSA while he was the Director of Media and Publicity for the Goodluck Jonathan Presidential Campaign Organisation.
The EFCC also accused the former minister of transacting with the said N26m without going through financial institution as required under the Money Laundering Act.