The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has confirmed that Festus Keyamo Chambers has the authority of the Attorney General of the Federation to prosecute Femi Fani-Kayode, a former aviation minister, in relation to a money laundering charge.
In a letter dated June 27, 2013 and signed by Chile Okoroma, its acting director of legal and prosecution department, the Commission said Keyamo and his law firm have been instructed to handle the case since 2008 and that the firm has “diligently prosecuted the matter up to the supreme court and back to the Federal High Court”.
The letter titled “Legal Representation In Respect Of Charge No. Fhc/L/ 523c/2008: Between Federal Republic Of Nigeria Vs FemiFani-Kayode” was addressed to the chief registrar of the Federal High Court, Lagos, apparently in reply to questions raised over the matter by the court.
Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia of the Federal High court, Lagos, Tuesday restrained Festus Keyamo from further prosecuting Fani-Kayode, until he is able to tenders a fiat from the Attorney General of the Federation authorizing him to do so.
The judge held that the prosecutor has shown no evidence of being delegated to prosecute the case, raising doubts as to whether or not Adoke had issued a fiat to the chambers of Keyamo.
The court’s ruling followed the contention raised by Ifedayo Adedipe, one of the counsels to the defendant, who on June 6 challenged the appearance of the prosecutor in the case.
Adedipe had argued that it was not clear whether Ahaotu, a lawyer from the Keyamo chambers was prosecuting on behalf of the federal government or the EFCC.
Going by the response of the EFCC, it is apparent that KeyamoChambers is prosecuting the accused on behalf of the commission and not the Attorney General and it is not clear if the judge who had insisted on a fiat from the Attorney-General will now consent to a continuation of trial.
Fani-Kayode is standing trial on a 47-count charge of money laundering. He was accused of making transactions with fundsexceedingN500,000 without going through a financial institution.
The former minister is also alleged to have accepted cash payments of about N230 million.
Below is a copy of the confirmation letter sent by the EFCC:
June 27, 2013
The Chief Registrar,
Federal High Court,
LEGAL REPRESENTATION IN RESPECT OF CHARGE NO. FHC/L/523C/2008: BETWEEN FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA V. FEMIFANI-KAYODE
Kindly be informed that since 2008, Mr. Festus Keyamo and his firm, Festus Keyamo Chambers, have been instructed to prosecute the above mentioned Charge on behalf of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. They have since diligently prosecuted the matter up to Supreme Court and back to the Federal High Court.
We hope this will clear any doubt as to the authority of the firm to prosecute this matter.
Accept the assurances of our highest regard.
Ag. Director, Legal & Prosecution Department
For Executive Chairman
1. The Attorney-General of the Federation,
Ministry of Justice, Abuja.
2. Festus Keyamo Chambers”