The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on February 23, 2022 presented its first witness against Femi Fani-Kayode, a former Minister of Aviation, who is standing trial before Justice O.O. Abike-Fadipe of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos for offences bordering on use of false documents, use of fabricated evidence, procuring execution of documents by false pretence, and fabricating evidence.
Fani-Kayode who is also being prosecuted by the EFCC for an alleged N4.9billion fraud before Justice Daniel Osiagor of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, is facing 12 counts before Justice Abike-Fadipe, brought against him by the EFCC, following his alleged use of forged medical report(s), which he tendered at the Federal High Court to justify his absence in Court.
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 fraudulently used a false document titled: MEDICAL REPORT ON OLUFEMI FANI-KAYODE 60 YEARS/MALE/HOSP. NO. 00345 DATED 11/10/2021 before the Federal High Court, Lagos Judicial Division in charge No. FHC/L/251C/2016 which document you purported 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, fraudulently used a false document titled: TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN RE: FEMI FANI-KAYODE MALE/60 YEARS HOSPITAL. NO. 32145 DATED 23rd MARCH 2021 before the Federal High Court, Lagos Judicial Division in charge No. FHC/L/251C/2016 which document you purported to have been issued by Kubwa General Hospital.”
He pleaded “not guilty” to the charges when he was first arraigned on December 17, 2021.
Earlier in the course of proceedings, counsel for Femi Fani-Kayode, Norrison Quakers, SAN moved an application urging the Court to decline jurisdiction to hear the case.
He argued that the case before the Court had nothing to do with economic and financial crimes.
Citing the Supreme Court judgement on the case of Joseph Nwobike vs FRN, he urged the Court to “abort, terminate the proceedings before your lordship”.
Responding, the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, who informed the Court that four prosecution witnesses were in fact in Court, countered the arguments, stressing that the Nwobike case “is entirely different in facts and circumstances”.
“We urge your lordship that the Court has unlimited jurisdiction,” he said.
Justice Abike-Fadipe after listening to both parties held that: “My decision is that I’ll still go on with the trial then I will determine jurisdiction later.”
Thereafter, the witness was called into the box to testify.
Led in evidence by Oyedepo, the first witness, Bassey Ama, Head, Medical Records, Kubwa General Hospital, Abuja, gave evidence as to whether the said medical report(s) on Olufemi Fani-Kayode emanated from the Hospital.
Informing the Court that he joined the Hospital on July 7, 2011, the witness said that by virtue of his position, he was in charge of medical reports and that he was the custodian of medical reports in the Hospital.
He further gave insights on the hospital’s record-keeping process, which he said starts from when the patient visits the Hospital and the vitals are taken as well as the details of the patient, after which a doctor is assigned to attend to the patient.
He said, “On October 12, 2021, the Kubwa General Hospital received a letter from the EFCC to investigate the authenticity of the medical report on Olufemi Fani-Kayode.
“The Hospital MD minuted the letter to my office to authenticate.
“After my thorough investigation, I reported back to the MD that Mr. Olufemi Fani-Kayode does not have a medical record in Kubwa General Hospital, and as well, the medical report did not emanate from our hospital [Kubwa General Hospital].”
He further testified that the doctor that issued the said report was never a staff of Kubwa General Hospital.
He said, “So we replied the EFCC that the medical report is not authentic.”
The witness, thereafter, identified the response of the Hospital to the letter of inquiry from the EFCC.
Subsequently, the prosecution sought to tender the letter to the EFCC from Kubwa General Hospital dated October 13, 2021 as as well as its annexures being respone to the letter of inquiry from the EFCC.
However, Quakers raised objections to the admissibility of the document arguing that the witness in the box, was not the maker, and that there was nothing on the surface of the document linking it to the witness.
He said, “The witness has owned the document not being the maker.
“Therefore, we urge your lordship to reject and discountenance it and mark it as rejected.”
Responding, Oyedepo, re-emphasized that the document sought to be tendered emanated from Kubwa General Hospital.
He said, “The witness in the box has given your lordship evidence on oath on how the Hospital received letter from the EFCC, how it was minuted to him, and how his unit handled the investigation.
“So the witness on oath has given his role in the making of the document.
“Therefore, I submit that by virtue of the role he played in the making of the document, he can also be described as the maker of the document.
“Also the document we seek to tender is an original document, it’s relevant to the facts.
“Even a certified true copy being a public document can be tendered from the bar.”
He therefore, urged the Court to admit the document as exhibit against Fani-Kayode.
After listening to the arguments, Justice Abike-Fadipe held that: “The witness led evidence to state that he is a staff of the Hospital and Head of the Medical Record Unit, the letter was issued by the Medical Director.
“The Hospital itself cannot come to the Court to give evidence and can only do so by one of its human personnel of which the witness is one.
“I am satisfied that the witness in the box, is competent to tender the letter and give evidence thereon.
“The objection is overruled.”
The document was thereafter admitted in evidence and admitted as Exhibit P1 and P1a.
Testifying further, the witness told the Court that: “Mr. Olufemi Fani-Kayode is not our patient. The Hospital number is not ours. No record of him with us. The name is not even found there on the said dates claimed in the medical report and the doctor that signed the report is not our doctor.”
The case was thereafter adjourned till February 25, 2022 for continuation of trial.