The forgery trial of a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, before the Lagos State Special Offenses Court in Ikeja was stalled on Monday as the ex-minister was absent from court.
He is on trial for the alleged use of false documents, fabrication of evidence, and procuring execution of documents before an Ikeja Special Offenses Court.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is prosecuting Fani-Kayode on 12 counts, in which he was accused of tendering a forged medical report before Justice Daniel Osiagor of the Federal High Court in Lagos, where he is being prosecuted for alleged N4.9bn fraud.
At the resumed hearing of the matter on Monday, the defendant’s counsel, Wale Balogun, informed the court that Fani-Kayode was not in court.
“We regret to announce to your lordship that the defendant is not in court due to health reasons and, secondly, due to a running battle he has with both the DSS and the police.”
Balogun informed the court that “since the last time we were here, the defendant has been reporting every day at the DSS, and while he was doing this, the Nigeria Police invited him” for questioning with regards to some comments Fani-Kayode made online.
“Since we left here at the last date, he has not been able to have peace of mind, and that has affected his health.”
“On the 16th, he was at the hospital, and on Saturday he was also readmitted to the National Hospital.”
“Even now as we speak, he is also there, and based on this, it has become imperative to seek your lordship’s indulgence not only to vacate today but also the other days, 21 and 22.”
“We humbly request that those days be vacated to enable him to resolve those issues.”
The lawyer said he had shared some documents with the prosecution in that regard.
Responding, the EFCC prosecuting counsel, Bilikisu Buhari, said, “The defense counsel this morning shared with us two documents; one is a medical report, and the other is from the Nigeria Police.”
“In the circumstances, we leave the decision to the discretion of the court.”
The defendant, who was arraigned on December 17, 2021, pleaded not guilty to the charge against him.
After listening to the lawyers, Justice Olubunmi Abike-Fadipe adjourned the case till May 24 and 25 for the continuation of the trial.