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N4.9bn Fraud: Judge Threatens to Declare Fani-Kayode Wanted over Refusal to Appear in Court

N4.9bn Fraud: Judge Threatens to Declare Fani-Kayode Wanted over Refusal to Appear in Court

Wale Igbintade

Justice Olubumni Abike-Fadipe of the Special Offences Court in Ikeja, Lagos, has threatened to declare former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, wanted for his refusal to appear for 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 by false pretence and fabricating evidence.

The defendant was alleged to have forged medical report(s), which he tendered before Justice Daniel Osiagor of a Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, where he is being prosecuted by the EFCC for an alleged N4.9 billion fraud.

After his arraignment and commencement of trial, he has refused to appear for trial for like three adjournments, the development which the judge frowned at.

At the last adjourned date, his counsel, Mr. Wale Balogun, had informed the court of the absence of the defendant due to health reasons and issues he had with the Department of State Services, (DSS).

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

However, when the matter was called, Chinozo Eze who represented him, 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 were already in the court file.

EFCC Counsel, Zinat Atiku, confirmed the development and said the prosecution’s hands were tight as to how to forge ahead.

However, the judge frowned at the constant non-appearance of the defendant noting that the last time he was in court was November 4, 2022.

The judge sighted series of excuses that had been tender by the defendant for his non appearances.

The court subsequently threatened to issue a bench warrant against him if he fails to show up at the next adjourned date.

The judge also frowned at the prosecutor for non-diligent prosecution, noting that they could withdraw the matter if the Commission was not ready to prosecute.

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

The EFCC counsel, Mrs. Bilikisu Buhari, confirmed that the defence gave some documents to the prosecution.

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