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Alleged forgery: Court threatens to declare Fani-Kayode wanted

THE Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos says it will declare former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, wanted if he fails to appear on the next adjourned date for his trial.

Justice Olubumni Abike-Fadipe frowned upon the constant non-appearance of the defendant, noting that the last time he was in court was November 4, 2022.

Fani-Kayode is standing trial on a 12 counts bordering on the use of false documents, use of fabricated evidence, procuring the execution of documents by false pretense and fabricating evidence.

He pleaded “not guilty” to the charge when he was first arraigned on December 17, 2021.

After his arraignment and commencement of trial, the defendant has been absent at his trial on at least three adjourned dates, a development which the judge frowned upon.

At the last adjourned date, his counsel, Wale Balogun, informed the court of the absence of the defendant on grounds of ill health and some issues he was said to have had with the Department of State Services (DSS).

Balogun had also pleaded with the court to grant him an adjournment with a promise to make his client available at today’s proceeding.

When the matter was called today, Chinozo Eze, who represented the defendant told the court that Fani-Kayode was not in court due to health issues.

He informed the court that a medical report and a letter seeking the leave of the court to vacate the two dates listed for hearing is already in the court file.

The counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Zeenat Atiku confirmed the development and said the prosecution’s hands are tied as to how to forge ahead.

However, the judge frowned upon the constant series of excuses that had been tendered by the defendant for his non appearances.

The court subsequently held that it will issue a bench warrant against Fani-Kayode if he fails to show up on the next adjourned date.

The judge also frowned upon the prosecutor for non-diligent prosecution of the case, noting that the EFCC can withdraw the matter if it is not ready to prosecute same.

Justice Olubumni Abike-Fadipe adjourned the case until November 7, 2023, for the continuation of trial.

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