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Saturday, 22 October 2016

Economic And Financial Crimes Commission Re-Arrests Fani-Kayode After Court Proceedings

Former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, was today arrested by the operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at the premises of a Federal High Court in Lagos after a court appearance. The anti-corruption agency offered no reason for the former minister’s arrest.

Before Mr. Fani-Kayode’s arrest, his lawyer, Wale Balogun, had told the court that there was an attempt by the anti-graft agency to arrest his client. He, therefore, urged the court to restrain the anti-graft agency from doing so.
In his response, EFCC prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, said that he was not aware of any move by the commission to arrest the former minister, adding that there was no plan to arrest Mr. Fani-Kayode on the matter for which he was in court. Mr. Oyedepo, however, explained that
he would not know if the said proposed arrest pertained to a different charge.
Immediately after the court proceedings, as the former minister made his way out of the courtroom, EFCC agents accosted and arrested him. The agents drove away with him.
Earlier, during today’s court trial, a witness, Idowu Olusegun, who is a media consultant, testified that the presidential campaign organization of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) still owed him N24 million. He said his firm, Paste Poster Company, wrote a letter to the campaign organization led by Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode, for a contract to print campaign posters for former President Goodluck Jonathan’s campaign. He told the court that, during the negotiation for the printing contract, he did not have any interface with Mr. Fani-Kayode, but only dealt with one Oke, whose other names he could not recollect.
He disclosed that his firm had proposed the sum of N80 each for A2 posters, N30 each for A4 Flyer, and N24 million for media consultancy. In the end, according to him, he and the campaign organization agreed to N50, N20 and N24 million for A2 postal, A4 Flyer and media consultancy respectively.
Mr. Olusegun further told the court that the campaign organization only paid the sum of N30 million in two installments of N6 million and N24 million, but failed to pay N24 million for media consultancy. He disclosed that the money was paid to him in cash at the PDP presidential campaign organization office located at 14B Samara Michael Avenue in Asokoro area of Abuja.
Asked why he got the money in cash, the prosecution witness told the court that Mr. Oke explained that it was the campaign organization’s preferred mode of payment. He added that he collected the cash because his firm did the job without receiving any mobilization. 
The presiding judge, Muslim Hassan Suleiman, adjourned the case to November 14 and 15.
Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode, former Finance Minister Nenadi Esther Usman, one Danjuma Yusuf, and a limited liability company, Joint Trust Dimension Nigeria Limited, are standing trial before the court on a 17-count charge related to unlawful retention, unlawful use and unlawful payment of money to the tune of about N4.9 billion. The accused persons are alleged to have committed the offences between January and March 2015.
The accused pleaded not guilty to the charges, and were granted bail in the sum of N250 million each with two sureties each in like sum.
Counts one to seven of the charges allege that the accused unlawfully retained more than N3.8 billion which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act of stealing and corruption. Counts eight to 14 allege that the accused unlawfully used more than N970 million which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of an unlawful act of corruption. Meanwhile, in counts 15 to17, Mr. Fani-Kayode, together with one Olubode Oke, who is said to be at large, are alleged to have made cash payments of about N30 million, in excess of the amount allowed by law, without going through a financial institution.
Mr. Fani-Kayode also faces allegations that he made payments to one Paste Poster Company (PPC) of No 125 Lewis Street, Lagos, in excess of amounts allowed by law.