Former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, has denied statement credited to his lawyer that he was seeking out of court settlement.
Fani-Kayode is facing a five-count charge of alleged money laundering amounting to N26 million before Justice John Tsoho of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) accused the ex-minister of collecting the money from the office of the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, and using same for media campaign for former President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election.
Earlier on Monday, Ahmed Raji, Mr. Fani-Kayode’s lawyer, asked the judge to adjourn the proceedings to allow him explore other options of settlement aside from going to trial.
“My Lord, I am just coming into the case and so I crave your indulgence to enable me familiarise myself with the case,” said Mr. Raji, a senior advocate of Nigeria.
“Secondly, looking at the facts of the case and money involved, I believe that there are other options we can explore.
“The case involves the sum of N26 million and the law allows you to explore the option of plea bargain and so many other options rather than go through trial.”
Countering the statement, Fani-Kayode said that under no circumstances will he pay back any money to the EFCC or government.
A statement on Monday by his spokesperson, Jude Ndukwe, reads: “Reports that are coming out that Chief Femi Fani-Kayode has agreed to return 26 million naira to the EFCC in an attempt to settle his case at the Abuja Federal High Court out of court with them are false.
“The matter was adjourned in the Abuja Federal High Court today primarily because a new lawyer in the person of Mr. Ahmed Raji SAN was now handling the case and he needed time to be properly briefed on the matter and to go through the file.
“Under no circumstances will Chief Fani-Kayode pay any money back to EFCC or any other government agency because he never collected any money from any government agency in the first place. The reports are false, embarrassing and mischievous.”