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Court grants Fani-Kayode N5m bail

Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday arraigned a former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, before an Ikeja Special Offences Court for alleged forgery.

His arraignment followed a ruling by the trial judge, Justice O.O. Abike-Dabiri, that the defendant must first take his plea before entertaining his application objecting to jurisdiction of the court to try him for alleged forgery.

The defendant was subsequently arraigned on a 12-count charge of forgery and fabrication of documents brought against him by thẹ Commission.

One of the counts against thẹ defendant stated: “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 Oziegbe 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.”

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Fani-Kayode pleaded not guilty to all the 12 counts.

His counsel, Wale Balogun, in an oral application, pleaded with the court to grant his client bail since the alleged offences were bailable.

Balogun argued that every accused person is presumed innocent under the law until proven guilty.

According to him, the defendant is on trial at the Federal High Court Lagos before Justice Osiagu in FHC/L/251c/ 2016 and has met all the conditions precedent for bail and has not defaulted to date, adding that he had deposited his international passport with the court since 2016 in a matter in which he was charged by the EFCC.

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He stated that the defendant is also standing trial before Justice Soho in FHC/ADJ/CR/140/2016 between FRN VS Femi Fani-Kayode.

He said that the defendant has been granted bail and has regularly attended proceedings in the last five years.

He said the defendant submitted himself when he was invited by the EFCC on November 23, 2021, was interviewed and granted administrative bail on self recognition.

“He was invited to report on 30/11/2021 by the EFCC and was served the court charges. He was released to me after I signed an undertaken to produce him in court for arraignment.

“On the 10th of December, we were in court before it was rescheduled for December 14, 2021. The defendant reported before your lordship and today he has also reported”, he said.

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He argued that the offences carry maximum sentence of 3 to 7 years and that the defendant be allowed to continue on bail in the same condition and sureties with landed properties in Lagos or in the alternative release the defendant to him on bail.

“I undertake that he will attend proceedings. Besides, he is a two-time minister and over 61 years. He is by no means a flight risk,” he said.

Justice Abike-Dabiri subsequently granted him bail in the sun or N5 million and one surety in lìke sum.

The matter has been adjourned to February 23, 25 and 28, 2022 for trial.

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