Court threatens bench warrant against Fani-Kayode
A Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos State, on Wednesday threatened to issue a bench warrant for the arrest of former Minister of Aviation Chief Femi Fani-Kayode for failure to appear for his trial.
NAN reports that Justice Olubumni Abike-Fadipe frowned at the defendant’s constant non-appearance at his trial.
Fani-Kayode is standing trial on a 12-count charge bordering on the use of false documents, use of fabricated evidence, procuring the execution of documents under false pretences, and fabrication of evidence.
He, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge at his arraignment on Dec. 17, 2021.
The judge noted that Fani-Kayode appeared last for the trial on Nov. 4, 2022.
Abike-Fadipe cited excuses that had been given by the defendant for his 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 that 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 Nov. 7 for the continuation of the trial.
The defendant was alleged to have forged medical reports, which he tendered before Justice Daniel Osiagor of a Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, where he is being prosecuted by EFCC for an alleged N4.9 billion fraud.
His counsel, Mr Wale Balogun, informed the court on Feb. 20 of the defendant’s absence due to health reasons and issues he had with the Department of State Services (DSS) and police.
“We regret to announce to your lordship that the defendant is not in court due to health reasons and due to a running battle he has with both the DSS and the police,” he said.
Balogun had prayed the court to adjourn the case, promising to make the defendant available for Wednesday’s proceedings.
However, when the case was called today, Wednesday, Mr Chinozo Eze, who represented Balogun, said “the absence of the defendant in court is due to health issues.”