The prosecutor claimed he had a fiat from the attorney-general to try the former minister.
Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia of the Federal High Court, Lagos, on Thursday queried the appearance of a prosecutor in a suit against a former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, charged with money laundering.
Mr. Fani-Kayode is standing trial on a 47-count charge, bordering on alleged mismanagement of aviation funds.
When the case was mentioned, the defence counsel, Ifedayo Adedipe, told the court that he was not aware of the capacity under which the prosecutor was appearing.
Mr. Adedipe said that the prosecutor, Vitalis Ahaotu, is a counsel with Festus Keyamo & Co Chambers. He said that the case is being prosecuted by the office of the Attorney General of the Federation, on behalf of the Federal Government.
The defense counsel argued that Keyamo & Co was not a counsel to either the AGF or the Federal Government.
“I do not know the capacity in which my learned friend is appearing in this matter. It is not clear whether he is prosecuting for the office of the Attorney General of the Federation or Federal Government.
“I, therefore, urge your lordship to order the prosecutor to give a proper identity of himself,’’ he said.
Mr. Ahaotu, however, argued that the defendant had no locus to question the right of prosecution.
He said that his office possessed the fiat of the attorney general and so, had the right to prosecute.
In her ruling, Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia ordered the prosecutor to file a written address before the court, addressing it on the propriety of his appearance in the case.
“I should have asked you who you were earlier on, but it was an oversight on my part.
“Now I want you to address the court on your presence in this case.
“I have given you an order and you have to obey,” the judge said and adjourned the case to June 24 for mention.
Mr. Fani-Kayode is accused of laundering N230 million through his aides, wife, and daughter; between 2006 and 2007 when he was a minister. He had pleaded not guilty to all the counts and was granted bail.