Judge threatens bench warrant against Fani-Kayode
On Wednesday, a Lagos State Special Offences Court that was sitting in Ikeja threatened to declare a former minister of aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, wanted for failing to appear before the court for his trial. The court was upset that Fani-Kayode had refused to appear before the court for his trial.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is currently prosecuting Fani-Kayode on 12 counts related to the use of false documents, the use of fabricated evidence, and procuring the execution of documents by false pretence.
The former minister is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for an alleged fraud involving N4.9 billion. It is alleged that he forged medical report(s), which he tendered before Justice Daniel Osiagor of the Federal High Court in Lagos.
Justice Olubumni Abike-Fadipe, who was unhappy with Fani-Kayode’s refusal to appear before the court to face his trial after his arraignment on December 17, 2021, and subsequent adjournments, made the threat on Wednesday when the matter came up. He was dissatisfied with Fani-Kayode’s refusal to appear before the court to face his trial after his arraignment.
Fani-Kayode’s attorney, Mr. Wale Balogun, informed the court of his client’s absence at the most recent date that had been adjourned. He stated that Fani-Kayode was unable to appear in court due to ill health, which he claimed was related to Fani-Kayode’s experience with the Department of State Services, which questioned him about some comments made prior to the general elections.
Balogun had previously pleaded with the judge to grant him an adjournment, on the condition that he be made available for the proceeding on Wednesday.
However, when the court resumed hearing the case on Wednesday, the defence attorney for the defendant, Mr. Chinozo Eze, informed the judge that Fani-Kayode was not present because he was experiencing health problems.
He informed the court that a medical report and a letter asking for permission from the court to cancel the two dates were already in the court’s file. He also informed the court that the medical report was attached to the letter.
Zinat Atiku, Counsel for the EFCC, has confirmed the new information and stated that the prosecution is currently at a standstill in terms of how to proceed.
The judge, on the other hand, took a dim view of the defendant’s pattern of chronic tardiness, pointing out that the last time he appeared in court was on November 4, 2022.
The judge made reference to a number of justifications that the defendant, Fani-Kayode, had provided for his absence from court in order to face his trial.
As a result, Justice Abike-Fadipe threatened to issue a bench warrant against him in the event that he did not appear in court on the subsequent date that had been adjourned.
The judge frowned upon the prosecutor for their lack of diligence in the prosecution of the case, noting that anti-graft could withdraw the matter as they were not ready to prosecute it. The judge also frowned upon the prosecutor for their lack of diligence in the prosecution of the case.