Alleged Forgery: Court threatens bench warrant against Fani-Kayode
The Ikeja Special Offences Court on Wednesday threatened to issue a bench warrant against a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, for failure to appear for his trial.
Justice Olubumni Abike-Fadipe frowned at the constant non-appearance of the defendant for the trial.
Mr Fani-Kayode is standing trial on a 12-count charge bordering on using false documents, fabricated evidence, procuring the execution of documents by false pretences, and fabrication of evidence.
He, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge on arraignment on December 17, 2021.
The judge noted that Mr Fani-Kayode appeared last for the trial on November 4, 2022.
Ms Abike-Fadipe cited excuses that the defendant had given for non-appearance.
She consequently threatened to issue a bench warrant against him if he failed to show up at the next adjourned date.
The judge also showed displeasure at the lack of diligent prosecution of the case.
She said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) prosecuting the case could withdraw it if it would not prosecute it diligently.
She adjourned the case until November 7 for a continuation of trial.
The defendant was alleged to have forged medical reports, which he tendered before Justice Daniel Osiagor of the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, where the EFCC is prosecuting him for an alleged N4.9 billion fraud.
His counsel, Wale Balogun, had, on February 20, informed the court of the defendant’s absence due to health reasons and issues he had with the State Security Service (SSS) and police.
Mr Balogun had prayed the court to adjourn the case, promising to make the defendant available at Wednesday’s proceedings.
However, when the case was called on Wednesday, Chinozo Eze, representing Mr Balogun, told the court that Mr Fani-Kayode was not in court due to health issues.
“The absence of the defendant in court is due to health issues,” Mr Eze said.
Mr Eze further informed the court that a medical report and a letter seeking the leave of the court to vacate the adjourned date had been submitted to the court.
EFCC counsel, Zinat Atiku, confirmed the receipt of the said letter.
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