The arraignment of a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before an Ikeja Special Offences Court was stalled on Tuesday after his lawyer challenged the jurisdiction of the court to hear the case.
The EFCC, in a 12-count charge filed before the court, accused the controversial politician of allegedly using a false medical report from one Ogieva Oziegbe, medical doctor, with inventory number 00345 dated October 11, 2021, which was said to have been presented before the federal high court in Ikoyi.
Mr Fani-Kayode was docked before O.O Abike-Fadipe but the arraignment could not proceed due to the preliminary objection filed by his lawyer, Wale Balogun.
Mr Fani-Kayode was reportedly “re-arrested” by the commission over alleged forgery and document falsification allegations in November.
The former minister was reportedly picked up by operatives of the commission, after the judge, Daniel Osaigor, adjourned proceedings in an ongoing trial involving alleged N4.9 billion fraud. He was said to have been immediately driven to the commission’s office.
At the previous sitting on October 13, F.B. Ajudua had told the court that his client, Mr Fani-Kayode, was “currently on bed rest” at the Kubwa General Hospital, Abuja, and a report was submitted to that effect.
“Procuring execution of documents by false pretence contrary to section 369 of The Criminal Law of Lagos State 2015,” the charge sheet read.
“Particulars of offence — 1st count — That you Femi Fani-Kayode on or about the 11th day of October, 021 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court by fraudulent representation procured one Dr. Ogieva Oziegbe to execute a document titled: MEDICAL REPORT ON OLUFEMI FANI KAYODE 60 YEARS/MALE/HOSP. NO.00345 DATED 11/10/2021 and purported same to have been issued by Kubwa General Hospital.
“Statement of Offence — 2nd count — Procuring execution of documents by false pretence contrary to section 369 of The Criminal Law of Lagos State 2015
The EFCC prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, therefore urged the court to take the plea of the defendant.
But Mr Balogun opposed the prayer, noting that the defence team has filed an application to challenge the jurisdiction of the court since the alleged offence stated in the charge sheet was committed in Abuja, the country’s capital.
He argued that the alleged offence is not economic or financial-related, adding that the EFCC was legally established to deal with offences that are economic or financial-related.
The EFCC lawyer, however, urged the court to dismiss the application on the grounds that it is an attempt to frustrate the trial because the defendant was charged under Lagos law and it can only be heard in Lagos jurisdiction.
He said the frivolous application was meant to delay and frustrate the trial.
The politician’s lawyer urged the court to entertain the application and rule on it before the plea can be taken.
After entertaining the submission of the lawyers, the judge adjourned till December 17 to decide the application.
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