Alleged Medical Report Forgery: Court Threatens Bench Warrant Against Fani-Kayode
Former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, is facing the possibility of a bench warrant being issued against him by Justice O.O. Abike-Fadipe of the Special Offences Court in Ikeja, Lagos.
The threat came as a result of Fani-Kayode’s repeated failure to appear in court for his trial on charges of forgery, claiming ill health as the reason for his absence.
In addition to the forgery charges, Fani-Kayode is also being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for an alleged N4.9 billion fraud before Justice Daniel Osiagor of the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos.
The 12-count charge against Fani-Kayode before Justice Abike-Fadipe pertains to his alleged use of forged medical reports to justify his absence in court. The reports were tendered at the Federal High Court and claimed to be from Kubwa General Hospital, the EFCC said in a statement on Thirsday.
During the arraignment on December 17, 2021, Fani-Kayode pleaded not guilty to the charges. However, at subsequent court hearings, the defense counsel informed the court of Fani-Kayode’s absence due to health issues and ongoing conflicts with the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Police.
At the latest court session on May 24, 2023, Fani-Kayode’s representative, Chinozo Eze, informed the court about his client’s continued absence and provided a medical report and a letter seeking to vacate the previously granted court dates.
The prosecution counsel, Z. Atiku, acknowledged the receipt of the letter but highlighted the prosecution’s limited options in light of the situation.
Expressing displeasure with Fani-Kayode’s consistent non-appearance, Justice Abike-Fadipe noted that the last time the defendant was present in court was on November 4, 2022. The judge warned that if Fani-Kayode fails to appear in court on the next adjourned date of November 7, 2023, a bench warrant may be issued against him.