Update: Why Lagos court stopped Keyamo from prosecuting Fani-Kayode over alleged N500mn fraud

Femi Fani-Kayode

Fani-Kayode is accused of money laundering.

A Federal High Court in Lagos has barred Festus Keyamo from further prosecuting Femi Fani-Kayode, former Aviation Minister, for alleged money laundering charges.

The EFCC had charged Mr. Fani-Kayode, in 2008, with 47 counts of money laundering amounting to N500 million.

Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, the judge, said that Vitalis Ahaotu, who was appearing for Mr. Keyamo, failed to present the fiat empowering his firm to take up the case on behalf of the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF.

The judge, however, declined the request by Mr. Fani-Kayode to strike out the charges against him.

Mr. Ahaotu had been representing Mr. Keyamo’s law firm who is prosecuting Mr. Fani-Kayode on behalf of EFCC. Mr. Keyamo frequently prosecutes criminal cases on behalf of the anti-graft agency. The judge, however, said that there was the need for Mr. Keyamo to present the fiat he had obtained in order to proceed with the case.

“There is a doubt as to the existence yet of the fiat by the Attorney-General of the Federation to prosecute the accused for the alleged money laundering charges,” Mrs. Ofili-Ajumogobia said. “Mr. Vitalis Ahaotu has submitted that Mr. Festus Keyamo has been given the fiat to prosecute the case. That fiat has not been tendered in this court, and for this reason Mr. Vitalis Ahaotu cannot continue to represent the Federal Republic of Nigeria in this case.”

The judge also ordered the court’s Deputy Chief Registrar to write, within three days, to Mohammed Adoke, the AGF, for him to “settle the appearance of the complainant” in the case.

However, the request by Wale Akoni, counsel to Mr. Fani-Kayode, for the court to strike out the charge was declined by the judge who said that the charge was duly authorised by an agent of government.

Mrs. Ofili-Ajumogobia said that she could not “make any pronouncement” on the appearance of the prosecution, until further clarification was made on the appearance of the prosecution.

She adjourned the case to July 8.

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