The former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode was arraigned at the Ikeja Special Offences Court on Tuesday for allegedly forging medical reports. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned the ex-minister over a 12-count charge of procuring execution of documents by false pretence. Other charge include use of false documents, fabricating evidence, use of fabricated evidence.
Counsel to Fani-Kayode, Mr Wale Balogun, however, challenged the jurisdiction of the court to hear the criminal suit. He said: “We filed before your lordship an application bordering on your lordship’s jurisdiction to entertain an arraignment.” Balogun noted that the alleged offences occurred in Abuja and a Lagos court does not have jurisdiction to hear the suit. Opposing the submission, EFCC Counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo said that the merely filing of an objection to a charge will not prevent a court from taking a plea.
“It is elementary that what triggers your lordship’s jurisdiction in a criminal proceeding is the taking of the plea so your lordship can now assume or decline jurisdiction. “Section 393(2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 states that the defendant being tried on an information can raise an objection to a charge or information only after the plea has been taken,” he said.
The EFCC said Fani-Kayode through one Dr Ogieva Oziegbe procured fake medical reports on various occasions to avoid attending his trial at the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court. The prosecutor, Oyedepo said:
“He procured the false medical reports on Jan. 31, 2018, May 30, 2019, Nov. 24, 2020, March 23, Oct. 11. “The defendant falsely purported before a Federal High Court, Lagos in charge number FHC/L/251C/2016 that the reports were issued by either Kubwa General Hospital or the Federal Ministry of Health, Abuja, Federal Staff Hospital.” The prosecutor said the offences violate Sections 88(1), 365(3), 366 and 369 of the Criminal Law of Lagos 2015.