Justice O.O. Abike-Fadipe of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, on Tuesday, reserved ruling on an application filed by a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, who was to be arraigned today by the Lagos Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a 12-count charge bordering on an alleged forgery, till Friday, December 17, 2021.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Femi Fani-Kayode, on or about the 11th day of October, 2021, in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, by fraudulent representation, procured one Dr. Ogieva Ozeigbe to execute a document titled: “Medical Report on Olufemi Fani-Kayode/60 Years/Male/Hospital No.00345 Dated 11/10/2021 and purported same to have been issued by Kubwa General Hospital.”
Another count reads: “That you, Femi Fani-Kayode, on or about the 23rd day of March, 2021 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, by fraudulent representation, procured one Dr. Ogieva Ozeigbe to execute a document titled: To Whom It May Concern: RE- Femi Fani-Kayode, Male/ 60 Years/ Hospital No. 32145 Dated 23rd March, 2021 and purported same to have been issued by Kubwa General Hospital.”
At the sitting, counsel to the defendant, Wale Balogun, told the court that the defendant was informed about the arraignment on Friday, December 10, 2021.
He also informed the court of an application filed on Monday, December 13, 2021, challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the arraignment.
He further said: “We made efforts to serve the prosecution the application, but they did not receive it at the office.
“The said process has been served on the prosecution this morning, and it was accepted.
“In view of this, we may not be able to proceed with the arraignment. “
In his response, the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, confirmed receipt of the application by the defence in court.
He, however, told the court that “the pendency or mere filing of an objection to the charge will not prevent your Lordship from taking the plea of the defendant.
“Your lordship can assume jurisdiction to decline jurisdiction.
“It is elementary that what triggers your Lordship’s jurisdiction in criminal proceedings is the taking of the pleas.
“We are all witnesses to the perennial delay that has bedevilled the administration of criminal justice in our system, which brought about the ACJA 2015.
“My Lord, the charges are brought under the Lagos State Law, which the court can entertain.”
He, therefore, urged the court to proceed with the arraignment of the defendant.
After listening to both parties, Justice Fadike, reserved ruling on the defendant’s application till Friday, December 17, 2021.