The absence of Justice Sule Hassan of a Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday stalled the trial of a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, for money laundering.
Fani-Kayode, who was also former Director of Media and Publicity of the Campaign Committee of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, was charged alongside a former Minister of Finance, Nenandi Usman, and Danjuma Yusuf.
Also charged was a company, Joint Trust Dimension Nigeria Ltd.
They were arraigned on a 17-count charge bordering on unlawful retention, unlawful use and unlawful payment of money in the tune of about N4.9 billion.
They each pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bail.
But yesterday, the trial of the accused could not proceed due to the absence of the trial judge who was said to be away on official assignment.
The trial of the accused was however, shifted to October 21 for continuation.
In the charge, the accused persons were alleged to have committed the offences between January and March 2015.
In counts one to seven, they were alleged to have unlawfully retained over N3.8 billion which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act of stealing and corruption.
In counts eight to 14, the accused were alleged to have unlawfully used over N970 million which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of an unlawful act of corruption.
Meanwhile, in counts 15 to17, Fani-Kayode and one Olubode Oke who is said to be at large, were alleged to have made cash payments of about N30 million, in excess of the amount allowed by law, without going through a financial institution.
Besides, Fani-Kayode was alleged to have made payments to one Paste Poster Co (PPC) of No 125 Lewis St., Lagos, in excess of amounts allowed by law.
All offences were said to have contravened the provisions of sections 15 (3) (4), 16 (2) (b), and 16 (5) of the Money laundering (prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012.