The Special Offences Court in Ikeja, Lagos, has threatened to have Femi Fani – Kayode arrested if he misses the next adjourned date of his trial.
Justice Olubumni Abike-Fadipe expressed displeasure at the defendant, Fani-Kayode, persistent absence, noting that the last time he appeared in court was on November 4, 2022.
Fani-Kayode is facing 12 counts that include using fake documents, using falsified evidence, getting documents executed under false pretences, and manufacturing evidence. On December 17, 2021, at his initial arraignment, he entered a “not guilty” plea to the accusation.
The defendant had missed at least three adjourned trial dates since his arraignment and the start of the case, which the judge disapproved of. At the most recent adjourned date, the defendant’s attorney, Wale Balogun, informed the court of his absence due to illness and of some alleged problems he had with the Department of State Services (DSS).
In addition, Balogun had begged with the court to allow him an adjournment with the assurance that his client will be present for today’s hearing. Fani-Kayode was unable to attend court today owing to health difficulties, according to Chinozo Eze, the defendant’s attorney, who called the case. He told the court that there was already a medical report and a letter in the court file asking for permission to change the two hearing dates.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s (EFCC) attorney, Zeenat Atiku, confirmed the development and claimed that the prosecution’s options are limited.
The defendant had often offered explanations for his absences, but the judge disapproved of them. The court then decided that if Fani-Kayode is absent from the next adjourned date, a bench warrant will be issued against him.
The prosecutor was criticised by Justice Olubumni Abike-Fadipe as well for not vigorously pursuing the case, stating that the EFCC could abandon the case if it is not prepared to pursue it. The trial was adjourned by the judge until November 7, 2023.