THE trial of former Aviation Minister, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode on a N26 million corruption charges was on Tuesday stalled when witnesses billed to testify against him shunned the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, where the former minister is being prosecuted.
None of the twelve witnesses proposed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to give evidence against the ex-minister showed up at the resumed trial yesterday.
Counsel to the anti-graft agency, Johnson Ojogbane, informed the trial Judge, Justice John Tsoho that he was surprised that the witnesses were not in court in spite of been notified of the trial.
Ojogbane applied to the court for an adjournment to enable him put his house in order by contacting the witnesses afresh.
Counsel to the former minister, Ahmed Raji (SAN) did not object to the request for the adjournment, prompting Justice Tsoho to reschedule the trial for April 7, 2017.
The Federal Government, through the EFCC, accused Fani-Kayode of allegedly receiving through his police aide, one Victor Ehiabhi, the cash sum of N26million paid to him by the former Director of Finance and Administration (DFA) of the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Shuaibu Salisu on the instruction of the former NSA, Col. Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (rtd).
Ehiabhi and Salisu had, in their written statements, admitted paying the money to Fani-Kayode in cash.
The prosecution said Fani-Kayode handled the cash without going through financial institution as required under the Money Laundering Act.
Fani-Kayode, who was the Director of Media and Publicity in the campaign organisation of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, is also standing trial on a 17-count charge of money laundering before a Federal High Court in Lagos.
He is being tried in Lagos with a former Finance Minister, Nenadi Usman, Danjuma Yusuf and a firm, Joint Trust Dimension Nig. Ltd.
They are charged with unlawful retention, unlawful use and unlawful payment of money to the tune of N4.9 billion.
Fani-Kayode however pleaded not guilty to all the charges preferred against him.