The forgery trial of a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, before the Lagos State Special Offences Court in Ikeja was stalled on Monday as the ex-minister was absent from court.
He is standing trial over the alleged use of false documents, fabricated evidence and procuring execution of documents before an Ikeja Special Offences Court.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is prosecuting Fani-Kayode on 12 counts, in which he was accused of tendering 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 at 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 the other days, 21 and 22.
“We humbly apply that those days be vacated to enable him 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 defence counsel this morning, shared with us two documents; one is a medical report and another from the Nigeria Police.
“In the circumstance, we leave the decision to the discretion of the court.”
The defendant who was arraigned in 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 continuation of trial.