A Federal High Court Sitting in Lagos has adjourned the criminal trial of Former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode on grounds of ill-health.
Mr Fani-Kayode is standing trial alongside a former Finance Minister, Nenadi Usman and two others, Danjuma Yusuf and Joint Trust Dimensions Nigeria Limited, on a 17-count charge of alleged fraud of N4.9billion.
Mr Fani-Kayode who was absent in court today (Wednesday) is said to be suffering from a heart-related ailment.
His counsel, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Norrison Quakers told Justice Rilwan Aikawa that he was informed by Mr Fani-Kayode’s wife that her husband had been taken to the hospital.
The counsel promised to obtain the medical report and make same available to the court before the close of work today or tomorrow.
Mr Quakers then sought for an adjournment which was granted without any objections from the other parties in the matter.
The Prosecuting Counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo has, however, asked the court to observe Section 396 subsection 4 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 which states that no party will be entitled to more than five adjournments in a particular criminal case.
He urged the court to note that the second defendant, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode has now taken two adjournments in the matter owing to his absence today and tomorrow which was initially slated for the matter.
Justice Rilwan Aikawa, therefore, adjourned to February 28, and March first and second for the continuation of trial.
A former minister of aviation, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode, says the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will inflict ‘fire and fury’ on the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) when Nigerians go to polls in 2019.
Mr Fani-Kayode said this on Wednesday when he appeared on Channels Television’s Politics Today, a day after United States President Donald Trump threatened to unleash ‘fire and fury’ on North Korea.
He explained that with the Supreme Court judgement which ended the leadership tussle in the PDP, the party will go on to reclaim power from the APC.
“Thank God for the rule of law, thank God for the Supreme Court. We are back on course, we have our party back, it’s now left to us to manage the success and ensure that we inflict what I would call ‘fire and fury’ like Donald Trump on the APC in 2019 and I am sure that we will actually do that,” he said.
‘Ruthless And Relentless’ Onslaught
The former minister, who said the PDP is becoming stable and is determined to regain the trust of the people, accused the APC of being responsible for its crisis.
Stressing that the leadership of the party would ensure its members remain united, Fani-Kayode said Nigerians were dissatisfied with the APC.
He said, “I think it’s fairly obvious that the Nigerian people are no longer happy with the APC; the honeymoon is over and now reality has set in and clearly, people want to change the change.”
Fani-Kayode also accused the APC of immorality and condemned what he described as ‘lies’ that the PDP did not develop the country.
“If you see what is happening in the last two years, I think the question of morality or decency should be put to the existing APC government rather than those of us that were in power before. We did a lot in 16 years regardless of the lies they are telling. PDP achieved a lot of things, we have nothing to be ashamed of; we have everything to look forward to,” he said.
‘Get Rid Of The Rot’
On the PDP’s plans to convince Nigerians to vote it back into power in 2019, Fani-Kayode said it would assure citizens that it would be “changing the change” and ending “the rubbish”, which, according to him, has left many Nigerians – majorly from the southern region, disappointed in the last two years.
“The First song they (PDP) will sing is ‘get rid of the rubbish and get rid of the rot’; the second thing will be ‘changing the change’. Let’s get down to specifics, when we ran the 2015 election, President Goodluck Jonathan lost by only two million votes, according to their INEC, not our INEC.
“I believe that probably up to 50% – 60% of the people that voted for the APC in 2015, particularly those in Yorubaland and throughout the south and middle belt are completely and actually shocked by what has happened in the last two years and really wished they had voted the other way.”
Also, he expressed confidence that the PDP’s non-elective convention would be a success.
He said, “Our convention will come on August 12 and I’m sure we’ll do very well and from there, we’ll begin the process of pushing the APC out of power.
“If we could have survived one and a half years of ‘ruthless and relentless’ onslaught from the APC Federal Government and their agents who try to come into our party and hijack the party and come out united and stronger, speaking with one voice and one Chairman, I really don’t think that we will be unable to manage great success that we’ve just had.”
The non-availability of prosecution witnesses stalled the trial of the former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Mr Fani-Kayode, who was also the Director of Media and Publicity of the campaign team for former President Goodluck Jonathan during the 2015 election, is being prosecuted by the Federal Government over allegation of 26 million Naira fraud allegedly perpetuated during the campaign.
He was alleged to have illegally received 26 million Naira from former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki, to organise media campaign for former President Jonathan’s re-election bid.
At a resumed hearing, the EFCC lawyer, Mr Johnson Ojogbane, expressed surprise over the absence of the prosecution witness in court.
He subsequently asked the court for an adjournment to enable him put his house in order.
However, Mr Ojogbane did not adduce any reason before the court as to why the prosecution witness who was to lead evidence against Mr Fani-Kayode was not in court.
In view of the development, Counsel to the former Minister, Mr Ahmed Raji, did not oppose to the application for adjournment.
Justice Tsoho adjourned the case till April 25, 2017 for the prosecution to open its case.
The former spokesman of the campaign organisation of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode, has been released from detention after 24 days.
Mr Fani-Kayode’s release was announced in a statement by his spokesman, Jude Ndukwe.
He said the former Aviation Minister was released “after meeting all the conditions of bail that was granted to him by the Federal High Court in Abuja”.
Mr Fani-Kayode was initially held in a detention facility at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission office in Abuja before he was moved to Kuje prison.
“He gives thanks to God for everything and he has asked me to convey his heartfelt appreciation and love to all those that prayed for and encouraged him and his family at this difficult time and indeed throughout this ordeal,” Mr Ndukwe stated.
According to him, Mr Fani-Kayode would now focus on getting the medical attention that he needed.
He also said that Mr Fani-Kayode reiterated his commitment to seeing a better Nigeria.
“He wishes to let all those that have offered him support and that have stood by him throughout this period know that his resolve to help build a better Nigeria and stand up for righteousness and truth remains strong.
“No matter what comes our way we trust the Lord and we believe that we shall prevail,” the statement further read.
This was because he was still in Kuje prison trying to perfect the conditions for his bail granted by a Federal High Court in Abuja on five-count charge of diversion of 26 million naira.
His counsel, Mr Wale Balogun, told the court that he had been in Kuje prisons because he was yet to meet the bail conditions granted him by an Abuja court.
“My lord, the second accused (Fani-Kayode) was kept in custody of the prosecution for 21 days without any word, and finally, arraigned on November 10 before your learned brother, Justice John Tsoho in Abuja, on a five-count charge bordering on 26 million Naira.
“He was subsequently remanded at the Kuje prisons, and in view of this, we are helpless, as his bail conditions have not been perfected in spite of frantic efforts by family and friends,” Balogun said.
Mr Fani-Kayode had been facing a 17-count charge of money laundering to the tune of N4.9 billion before he was re-arrested on Friday, October 21 by operatives of the anti-graft agency.
The wife of Mr Femi Fani-Kayode, Mrs Chikwendu Fani-Kayode, has dismissed allegations by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that her Access Bank account was used to launder a said sum of money.
The former Aviation Minister’s wife was purportedly arrested by some EFCC operatives alongside her eight-month-old son, Aragorn on Monday in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital in southwest Nigeria.
Her reaction came after the EFCC said it did not detain the wife of the former Aviation Minister, contradicting reports in the media and the claims of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
A spokesman for the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, had earlier cleared the air on the said money laundering.
“The said account, which had a balance of 2,307,712.82 Naira was flagged following investigation into the PDP Joint Trust fund when the Commission traced 1.1 billion Naira to the Zenith Bank account of Fani-Kayode.
“It was discovered that the account had two biometric identification numbers, one for Fani-Kayode and the other for Sonia Chikwendu.
“The same BVN is linked to two other accounts in Diamond Bank and 15 accounts in Guaranty Trust Bank.”
Lie From The Pit Of Hell
Reacting to the EFCC’s report, Mrs Fani-Kayode said all that the anti-graft agency claimed was not true.
A statement by her spokesperson, Chineye Okechukwu, on Tuesday described the allegations as ‘a lie from the pit of hell’.
“The assertion by one Wilson Uwujaren, who is supposed to be the spokesman of the EFCC that Precious Chikwendu’s Access Bank account was used to launder (former President Goodluck) Jonathan campaign funds or funds from the National Security Adviser (NSA)’s office and that approximately 2.4 million Naira balance was found in the said account at the time of her arrest is a lie from the pit of hell.
“The said account was opened in 2005 at Onitsha when Precious Chikwendu was about to start at the University of Calabar.
“At that time it was not known as Access Bank but Intercontinental Bank.
“The account was used by her from 2005 till 2012 when it was abandoned and went dormant.
“It was not utilised or activated again until August 2016 when small deposits of between 200,000 Naira and 500,000 Naira were made into it and the total amount that entered into that account over a period of two months was approximately four million Naira.
“The money was spent on looking after the family, paying staff salaries and to buy groceries.
“Consequently at the time that the account was frozen last Friday, the amount that was left in it was 95,000 Naira.
“She was not notified about the freezing of the account until someone paid 200,000 Naira into it on Saturday.
“The money entered the account, but after that it could not be accessed.
“She decided to stop at the bank on her way out of Ado Ekiti on Monday in order to know what was going on and she was then detained and offered to the police and EFCC, together with her eight-month-old son, Aragorn, for arrest.
“The total amount that was in the account at the time of the arrest was 295,000 Naira which is approximately $600.
“This is reflected in the screenshot above together with the relevant dates.
“How Wilson of the EFCC arrived at his figure of 2.3million Naira being in the account at the time of (the) arrest is mind-boggling and absurd.
“It is nothing but a shameless and barefaced lie and he and the organisation that he works for are nothing but pernicious liars.
Lies Of The EFCC
“It is equally absurd to suggest that the said account had anything to do with Jonathan Campaign funds or Dasuki NSA funds, given the fact that the said account was not even active or functional between 2012 right up until August 2016.
“The Presidential campaign took place in 2015 and at that time, the account was dormant.
“At the time that she abandoned and stopped using the account in 2012, Precious Chikwendu had not even met Chief Fani-Kayode.
“The lies of the EFCC on this matter are sickening and they are wicked and sadistic people.
“Wilson’s assertions are just one example of such lies.
“The only reason that Precious Chikwendu’s bank accounts were frozen and she was subjected to such inhuman treatment is because she is married to Chief Femi Fani-Kayode who is a politician and a leading member of the opposition.
“They wanted to punish her and their eight month-old-son, Aragorn, just to hurt and spite Chief Fani-Kayode.
Connection With Public Funds
“Finally let me add this; it is not true that Precious Chikwendu has 17 accounts in GTB, this is another dirty EFCC lie.
“She has one current account with a merged savings account in GTB which was opened in 2012.
“Outside of that, she has a dollar account and a pounds sterling account with the same bank which were all opened on the same day in 2012.
“None of these accounts have any connection whatsoever with public funds or with Chief Femi Fani-Kayode and neither was any GTB BVN linked to his.
“Again on this issue the EFCC lied.
“Neither is it true that the EFCC were not at the bank in Ado Ekiti to arrest her because three of their operatives were actually there manning the bank door with their identity cards pinned to their jackets.
“They were backed by five fully armed policemen in uniform.
“They made it clear to Precious Chikwendu that they had been ordered to bring her to Abuja by road that same evening and that if she could not leave her son in the bank with the manager, he would have to come for the ride too.
“Had it not been for the intervention of Governor Fayose, that is exactly what would have happened and only God knows what they would have been subjected to on the way,” the statement read.
The national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned the purported arrest of the wife of Mr Femi Fani-Kayode, Precious Chikwendu.
Mr Fani-Kayode’s wife was said to have been arrested on Monday alongside her eight-month-old son by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes commission (EFCC) in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital in southwest Nigeria.
The party made the censure on Tuesday in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Prince Dayo Adeyeye.
The statement read: “We condemn in its entirety, the arrest and detention of Precious Chikwendu, Wife of Mr Femi Fani-Kayode, and former Spokesperson of the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation (PDP-PCO) on October 17, 2016 by officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State.
“She was arrested along with her eight-month-old son, Aragorn, and would have been detained but for the timely intervention of Governor Ayo Fayose.
“This action represents a new low in the Federal Government’s resolve to harass and persecute real and perceived enemies of the Buhari Administration under the guise of an anti-corruption crusade.
“It is reprehensible for the government to attack members of the families of its perceived enemies, especially wives and children, for any reason whatsoever.
“In addition to freezing Chief Fani-Kayod’s accounts, the Federal Government has ordered the freezing of accounts of his wife, Precious Chikwendu, several of which were opened and operated long before their marriage.
“These accounts have been frozen for no reason other than her marriage to Mr Fani-Kayode.
“The Buhari Administration cannot, and must not be allowed to continue the violation of the constitutional rights and freedom of the Nigerian people.
“This sort of tyranny must not be allowed to continue unchecked.
“We have advised the family to approach the courts and enforce their legal rights in this matter”.
EFCC Denies Claimed Arrest
The anti-graft agency, however, said it did not detain the wife of the former Aviation Minister, contrary to reports in the media and the PDP claims.
“The wife of Femi Fani-Kayode and her child are not in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and were never detained by the Commission.
“Contrary to the media spin about the purported arrest of mother and child, a certain Chikwendu Sonia today (Monday) attempted to withdraw money from an Access Bank account that had been placed on ‘Post No Debit’ Category, following the discovery of illicit cash flows into the account.
“She was intercepted by the bank while the Commission was notified but because it was late, the EFCC advised that the suspect be taken to the Police station for processing and release on bail.
“They were arranging to take the suspect to the police station when Governor Ayo Fayose stormed the bank with thugs and his personal security and forcefully secured the release of the suspect, with claims that the EFCC had no power to detain anybody in his state,” the statement read.
Reacting to that allegation on Sunday, Mr Sheriff described Mr Fani-Kayode, who is also a member of the PDP, as a person that changes the goalpost on every issue and should not be taken seriously.
On Monday, however, Mr Fani-Kayode told Channels Television’s political correspondent, Seun Okinbaloye, that the Factional leader of the PDP was ‘of the devil’ and a course to the opposition party that is making efforts to hold its ground after it lost power to the All Progressives Party in the 2015 Presidential election.
“These are the lies of a desperate and drowning man that came to destroy the PDP and if we did not rise up against him and kick him out when we did, he would have succeeded in his mission.
“I am proud to be the first to see him for what he is and to publicly blow the whistle against him.
“I was one of those that led the rebellion against him and orchestrated the campaign to push him out and dump him as the national chairman of our party. Many have thanked me for that including some of those that brought him in the first place and attempted to impose him on us,” he said.
Reacting further to Senator Sheriff’s comment about him, he said: “The man is of the devil and no one should believe a word that comes out of his mouth or take him seriously. He is a curse to the PDP and the sooner he is kicked out of the party the better it is for us all.
We Used Him To Spy
In response to Sheriff’s statement about him changing the goalpost on every issue, he said: “A lying Ali Modu Sheriff has changed political parties not less than four times in the last few years”.
Mr Fani-Kayode claimed that Mr Sheriff had tried to destroy different parties from within on behalf of the government of the day, insisting that that was his plan for the PDP.
“He has betrayed everyone.
“We used him to spy on and destroy the APP when we were in power. Right now he has failed and 99 per cent of PDP members have rejected him and now he is on his own,” he told Seun over the telephone.
Mr fani-Kayode further claimed that he had remained consistent with his view, but said that Senator Sheriff was more of a gangster than a politician.
This war of word is coming at a time that contradictory court rulings are coming out in relation to the leadership tussle that the party is immersed in.
The leadership crisis of the PDP had taken a new dimension with different court giving different judgements on Monday about the party’s decision to hold a national convention in Port Harcourt, which Senator Sheriff had kicked against.
“I have done absolutely nothing wrong and neither have any of my co-accused. I saw this coming the day we lost elections and it was announced that the other side had won.
“I refused to leave the country just as I refused to leave the country in 2008 when I was accused of things then.
“I have absolutely no doubt that in the end of this particular exercise I will be declared innocent by the court simply because it is very obvious that this is a politically motivated allegation,” he said.
The former Minister denied receiving funds from government agencies to run the campaigns of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2015 general elections.
He criticised the allegations, stating that the money used to fund the PDP campaign was gotten from the party’s private account.
“You asked a direct question, did I receive money from any government agency for my operations within the campaign? The answer is no.
“Our Director of Finance sent money out to the various directors including me from our own private company account for us to run our operations.
“I was given only 10% of what I needed (very small) about 800 million Naira to run a campaign for three months and we utilised that money,” he said.
Fani-Kayode said that the charges before him have brought him no regret working for former President Goodluck Jonathan, saying that he was not the only person that has been facing charges.
The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has granted bail in the sum of 250 million Naira each, to Former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, Former Minister of Finance, Nenadi Usman and Danjuma Yusuf who are being tried by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for allegedly stealing and laundering about 4.9 billion Naira.
Delivering his ruling on their bail application on Monday, the trial judge, Justice Sule Hassan held that there was no evidence that the defendants will interfere with trial if granted bail.
The judge also held that denying the defendants bail, especially as the court’s vacation was near, and would span throughout the expiration of August, will not serve the interest of justice.
Justice Sule Hassan granted the defendants bail with two sureties each in like sum. The sureties must own landed properties within the court’s jurisdiction and must present to the court, evidence of tax clearance.
The defendants were also ordered to deposit their passport in the custody of the court pending the determination of the case.
The offence which was allegedly committed between January 2015 and March 2015 is contrary to section 18(a) of the money laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and Punishable Under Section 15(3) & 4 of the same act.
The offense carries a minimum sentence of not less than 7years but not more 14 years jail term.
17 witnesses have been listed by the EFCC to testify against the defendants in proof of the charges.
Owing to the courts annual vacation which commences on Monday July 11, 2016 Justice Hassan has adjourned commencement of trial to October 19, 2016.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has set a new date to arraign former Aviation Minister on Spokesman of the Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode.
He will now be arraigned before Justice Sule Hassan of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Tuesday, June 21.
It’s not clear why the arraignment was shifted from Friday this week to Tuesday next week but Channels Television’s judiciary correspondent, Shola Soyele, reports that it may not be unconnected with the busy schedule of the court and the prosecuting agency.
The EFCC has filed a 17 count charge against Chief Femi Fani-Kayode over an alleged N1.5 billion fraud.
A former Minister of Finance, Senator Nenadi Usman; a firm, Joint Trust Dimensions Limited; one Danjuma Yusuf and another Olubode Oke, (said to be at large) are charged alongside Chief Fani-Kayode.
In the first count of the charge, “Nnenadi Esther Usman, Femi Fani-Kayode, Danjuman Yusuf And Jointrust Dimentions Nigeria LTD on or about the 8th day of January, 2015, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired to indirectly retain the sum of N1.5 billion, a sum the EFCC says they reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act of stealing.
“They therefore committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012. The Offence is punishable under Section 15(3) & 4 of the same Act”, the charge read.
The EFCC has listed 17 witnesses to testify against the defendants including representatives of Zenith, Wema, Skye, UBA, First Bank and GT Bank.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has filed a 17-count charge against a former Aviation Minister and Spokesman for the Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode over an alleged 1.5 billion Naira fraud.
A former Minister of Finance, Senator Nenadi Usman, a firm – Joint Trust Dimensions Limited – one Danjuman Yusuf and another Olubode Oke, (said to be at large) were also charged alongside Mr Fani-Kayode.
The defendants are expected to be arraigned at the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos as soon as the case is assigned to a judge.
Channels Television’s judiciary correspondent, Shola Soyele, who obtained a copy of the charge reported that while Mr Fani-Kayode was named in all 17 counts, the former Finance Minister was only named in the first four counts of the charge.
In the first count, Usman, Fani-Kayode, Yusuf And Jointrust Dimensions Nigeria Limited on or about January 8, 2015, within the jurisdiction of the Court conspired to indirectly retain the sum of 1.5 Billion Naira, a sum the EFCC said they reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act of stealing.
“They, therefore, committed an offence contrary to Section 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012. The Offence is punishable under Section 15(3) & 4 of the same Act,2 the charge read.
The EFCC had listed 17 witnesses to testify against the defendants including representatives of some banks.
Mr Fani-Kayode, described the earlier reports of his arrest as absurd, “I am not a coward”, he said and added, “this attempt to further demonise and humiliate me by the EFCC will fail.
“If they have any questions for me why don’t they just write to me or call me, give me a date and I will be in their office. I have made my position clear on the issue of the Presidential campaign funds, I have written an essay about it in my various columns about two weeks ago and I have been waiting for the EFCC to reach me ever since then.
“They have invited others but they have not invited me. I do not believe that I have done anything wrong and this latest attempt to criminalise me and make me look like a fugitive from justice will fail.
“Others that were invited to the EFCC over this same campaign funds issue were sent letters of invitation and were reached. I appear to be the exception and now these hideous lies are being fed to the newspapers to make it look as if I am in hiding or that I am running from them just to sensationalise the whole issue.”