Alleged N26m Fraud: Fani-Kayode’s Trial Adjourned Till April 25

Fani-Kayode, EFCC ArrestsThe 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.

Ruling On Suit Against Fani-Kayode, Others Deferred Till February 8

Nenadi Usman, Femi Fani-Kayode, EFCC, CourtA Federal High Court in Lagos has fixed February 8, 2017, to hear all applications challenging its jurisdiction in the case of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against two former ministers.

The defendants in the matter include a former Minister of Aviation, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode, a former Finance Minister, Mrs Nenadi Usman, one Danjuma Yusuf and a company, Joint Trust Dimensions Nigeria Limited.

They are standing trial before the court on a 17-count charge of alleged 4.9 billion Naira fraud.

The respondents have pleaded not guilty to the charges and after being granted bail by the court, the EFCC opened its case against them with the testimony of its first prosecution witness.

However, they have filed various applications before the court challenging its powers to hear the case.

At Tuesday’s proceeding, the defence lawyers refused to cross examine the witness, asking the court to hear and determine their various applications.

The judge in charge of the case, Justice Muslim Hassan, consequently fixed Wednesday to rule on their requests.

The defendants also challenged the choice of Lagos State, as the venue in a matter which they said had nothing to do with the state.

The former Finance Minister had also asked the court to separate her trial from that of the former Aviation Minister.

In a second application, Mrs Usman asked for the release of her passport to enable her travel abroad for medical treatment.

Mr Fani-Kayode’s lawyer also asked the trial judge to hands off the case on the basis that he once prosecuted for the EFCC.

Court Fixes Wednesday To Decide Jurisdiction On Suit Against Fani-Kayode, Others

Court, EFCC, Femi Fani-Kayode, Nenadi Usman, EFCCA Federal High Court in Lagos is set to rule on the challenge of its jurisdiction in the case of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against two former ministers and two others.

The court fixed Wednesday, January 18 for ruling after listening to arguments on the issue from lawyers in the matter.

The EFCC had arraigned a former Minister of Aviation, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode, a former Minister of Finance, Senator Nenadi Usman, and two others on a 17-count charge of laundering about 4.9 billion Naira.

They all pleaded not guilty.

At the resumed hearing of the case on Tuesday, the prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, concluded his examination of the first prosecution witness, one Mr Idowu Olusegun, a media consultant with Paste Posters Company Limited.

In his testimony which started in October 2016, Mr Olusegun told the court how he purportedly received about 24 million Naira cash in several tranches from the office of the Mr Fani-Kayode, who was the Director of Campaign Organisation of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

He explained that the money was meant for the printing of posters and flyers for former President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election.

The defence lawyers, however, declined to cross-examine the witness.

Call For Separate Trial

Counsel to Mrs Usman, Mr Abiodun Owonikoko, told Justice Muslim Hassan that in the light of pending applications before the court, the stage was ripe to request for the hearing of an application he filed since November 2016, seeking a separate trial for his client.

He stressed that he was concerned that his client would not get a fair hearing with the present joint trial.

Mr Owonikoko also expressed displeasure with the choice of Lagos State as the venue in a matter which he said had nothing to do with the state.

He told the court that it had become very tedious for his client to come from Abuja on every adjourned date and spend at least three days in Lagos, especially with all her accounts frozen.

On his part, Counsel to Mr Fani-Kayode, Mr Norrison Quakers, aligned with these submissions and urged the court to first hear applications touching on its jurisdiction.

He informed the court that he had recently filed an application challenging its jurisdiction.

Mr Quakers stated that to cross examine the witness would mean submitting to the jurisdiction of the court.

The EFCC prosecutor, however, objected to the arguments and insisted that the defendants had already submitted to the jurisdiction of the court after taking their plea.

He argued that all the pending applications could be taken together while the court proceeds with its ruling.

After listening to all the lawyers, Justice Muslim Hassan adjourned the case to Wednesday for ruling.

Fayose Condemns Fani-Kayode’s Prolonged Detention By EFCC

Femi Fani-Kayode, Ayodele Fayose, EFCCEkiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has condemned the continuous detention of former Minister of Aviation, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

He described Fani-Kayode’s detention as unlawful and an act against democracy.

After visiting the former minister at the EFCC office in Abuja, Governor Fayose asked the Federal Government to uphold justice and the fundamental human rights of its citizens.

‘Spirit Of Justice’

“I just want to say that deliberate incarceration of people, especially on matters that are bailable is not the best.

“He (Fani-Kayode) was incarcerated for almost two months ago and he came to court willingly for you to see that (he is) a man who is not ready to jump bail being re-arrested and locked up for close to another one month.

“That is not the spirit of justice, justice did not intend that and I want to appeal to the leaders of the country (and) the EFCC to please let us respect the rights of humanity.

“The rights and constitution of a country comes first over and above any offence you want to contemplate.

“This man is going to face justice, he is going to face the court at the same time (and) why do you have to continue locking him up?

“It gets very personal at some point and you begin to ask where the right of Nigerians is,” Fayose said.

Mr Fani-Kayode has been in the custody of the anti-graft agency since Friday, October 21 when he was re-arrested in the premises of the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos.

The arrest has triggered reactions especially from several Peoples Democratic Party faithful.

Court Dismisses Oduah’s Rights Enforcement Suit

Stella-Oduah-SenatorA Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has dismissed a fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by a former Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, against the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and three others.

The suit was dismissed for want of jurisdiction on Wednesday after the court had postponed its judgment twice.

Justice Okon Abang, who has since been transferred to the Abuja division of the court returned to Lagos to deliver the judgment in line with the new provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.

The judge ordered the former Minister to pay a cost of 15,000 Naira to the AGF.

Mrs Oduah had filed the suit in August last year, urging the court to restrain agencies of the Federal Government from questioning or prosecuting her over the purchase of two armoured BMW vehicles at a cost of 255 million Naira by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority under her watch as the Aviation Minister in 2013.

In her suit, Oduah claimed to have already been probed and exonerated by the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and urged Justice Abang to declare that any further probe would amount to violating her fundamental rights.

The respondents in the suit were the AGF, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission and the Inspector General of Police.

Oduah alleged that the ruling All Progressives Congress intended to use the respondents to persecute her, being a prominent member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party.

She claimed that the Federal Government had perfected plans to try prominent members of the PDP on trumped up charges in a special Lagos State High Court, so as to turn the country into a one-party state.

She begged the court to restrain the respondents from unleashing repression against her.

But the EFCC denied doing the bidding of the APC, claiming that it was independent.

It furnished the court with a petition dated October 18, 2013 written by a lawyer from the chambers of Mr Femi Falana, calling for Oduah’s investigation.

According to the EFCC, the said petition was captioned: “Request for Investigation of Economic and Financial Crimes of the sum of 255 million Naira by Aviation Minister, Ms Stella Oduah”.

The EFCC urged the court to dismiss Oduah’s suit.

But in his judgment, Justice Abang dismissed the EFCC’s objection for not complying with ‘Order Eight Rule One’ of the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure.

“The EFCC did not file any opposition in line with the law,” Justice Abang held.

The judge, however, upheld the preliminary objection filed by the AGF, who challenged the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court in Lagos to entertain Oduah’s suit.

Counsel for the AGF, T.A. Gazali, had contended that since the rights violation that Oduah alleged did not happen in Lagos, it would be a violation of Section 46 (1) of the constitution and Order Two Rule One of the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure to entertain the case in Lagos.

“From the whole of the applicant’s averments, there is nowhere she mentioned that her right was or is being breached by the respondents within the territorial space called Lagos.

“There is nothing to show that the applicant was invited, arrested or detained in Lagos by any of the respondents in the suit.

“The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos cannot assume jurisdiction to entertain alleged breach of fundamental rights that did not take place in Lagos State,” Gazali argued.

Justice Abang upheld Gazali’s argument and dismissed Oduah’s case.

The judge also held that if the Federal Government had any valid reason to arraign Oduah in a Lagos State High Court as she alleged, it would not amount a violation of her right.

Meanwhile, in another judgment, Justice Abang also refused a prayer to stop the EFCC and the Department of State Services from arresting and probing a former Special Adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan on Niger Delta Affairs and the Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Kingsley Kuku.

The judge dismissed Kuku’s suit for lacking in merit, but restrained the respondents from detaining him beyond 48 hours in contravention of Section 35(4) (5) of the Constitution.

5.2bn Naira Aviation Scam: AGF’s Request Stalls Trial Of Borishade, Others

EFCC on BorishadeHearing on a suit filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against the former Minister of Aviation, Babalola Borishade and four others, has been stalled on the request of the Attorney General of the Federation for a brief on the matter.

Mr Borishade and four others were to appear before Justice Abubakar Umar of the High Court in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, on Wednesday.

In a statement issued by the spokesperson for the anti-graft agency, both parties were present in court, but Justice Umar informed them that the matter could not go on as planned, as the AGF had requested for a brief on the case by the EFCC since the matter had been in court for about seven years.

“He presented a letter dated February 2 from the AGF requesting for an adjournment of the case and records of court proceedings so far.

“Counsel to the EFCC, Chile Okoroma, told the court that his hands were tied with regards to continuing the proceeding, as the AGF, being the Chief Law Officer, has power over him,” the statement read.

The statement further read that Mr Okoroma said that “under the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, and Section 174 of the Constitution, the AGF has the power to take over, continue or discontinue a case”.

Counsel to the first defendant, Kehinde Ogunwumiju and Regina Okotie- Eboh, representing the 4th and 5th defendants, who had initially sought for a dismissal of the case which was earlier slated for ruling on Wednesday, could not have their applications taken as a result of the letter from the AGF.

Justice Umar adjourned the case to February 17, 2016 for ruling and continuation of hearing pending the decision of the AGF.

Mr Borishade, his former personal assistant, Tunde Dairo, and two others allegedly mismanaged a 5.2 billion Naira Aviation Safe Tower contract.

Others on trial for the alleged offence are former Managing Director of Nigeria Airspace Management Agency, Rowland Iyayi; an Australian, George Eider and Avsatel Communications Limited.

The suspects were arraigned on November 19, 2009 by the EFCC on a 15-count charge of taking bribe and forging aviation contract documents.

New Petrol Pump Price Enjoys High Compliance Nationwide

petrolThere seems be high compliance level for the new pump price of petrol across the country.

This is according to Channels TV correspondents, who visited petrol stations across the country.

While petrol is selling at between 86 naira and 86.50 in Abuja, the product is selling for N87 per litre in Kano.

Many petrol stations in the Federal Capital Territory have been nearly empty with just two to three cars at the fuel pumps at a time.

At the NNPC filling station visited, the pump price was 86 naira per litre and the station manager who spoke off camera said that the new pump price was put in place as soon as government announced the reduction.

Other filling stations visited; Conoil, Oando, Forte Oil, were selling at N86.50k per litre.

Vehicle owners buying at the new rate said that they were happy that the product was available whether or not there is a reduction in pump price.

They also said that the 50 kobo reduction would be taken as a sign of better things to come.

However, one customer asked that federal government pay attention also to the pump price and availability of kerosene which he said is used by a greater number of Nigerians, especially the poor.

For the oil majors in Lagos, they have reverted to the approved rate of N86.50k, while the same may not be said of independent marketers who are still selling above the recommended retail price.

The situation seems to be bad in Ogun State where the product is still selling for between N110 and N120 per litre except for the capital city, Abeokuta where the NNPC mega station is selling at the new pump price.

PDP Leaders Kick Against Removal Of Petroleum Subsidy

pdpLeaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kaduna State have kicked against the proposed removal of petrol subsidy by the Federal Government.

Speaking during a one-day conference organised by the Kaduna State PDP Youth Patriotic Front held in Kafanchan, the party leaders including the minority leader of the House of Representatives, Yakaubu Barde, and the Senator representing Southern Kaduna District, Danjuma Laah, wondered why the same All Progressive Congress-led government that opposed the move by former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration to remove petrol subsidy 2011, is planning to do same.

Barde specifically faulted the former Governor of Lagos State and National Leader of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, for his recent call for the removal of petrol subsidy.

He noted that Tinubu’s insistence on President Buhari removing fuel subsidy come January 2016 was quite unfortunate in many respects, and another misadventure of the National Leader of the APC and his party.

According to the PDP leaders, the only reason the issue of fuel subsidy had continued to recur was because Nigeria imports petroleum products for domestic consumption.

They warned that so long as importation continues, the problem that the government sets out to confront would continue like a recurring decimal.

The event was attended by prominent members of the PDP from the Southern Kaduna Senatorial Zone, including former Minister of Aviation, Mr Hassan Hyet, Senator Danjuma Laah, the State PDP Chairman, Mr Abubakar Haruna, former Deputy Speaker of Kaduna State House of Assembly, Dogara Mato, former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Mark Jacob, and many former Commissioners.

Court To Deliver Judgement On Stella Oduah’s Suit

stella_oduahA Federal High Court in Lagos has fixed January 25, 2016 to deliver judgment in the fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by a former Minister of Aviation, Mrs Stella Oduah, seeking to stop an alleged plan to prosecute her over the two armoured BMW cars allegedly purchased for 255 million Naira.

The vehicles are alleged to have been bought by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority in 2013 during her tenure.

Justice Okon Abang adjourned for judgment on Tuesday after entertaining arguments from the parties in the suit.

Fighting An Anti-graft War

Oduah had sued the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission; the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, the Attorney General of the Federation and the Inspector General of Police.

She claimed that the ruling All Progressives Congress’ government had perfected plans to use the defendants to persecute and humiliate her under the guise of fighting an anti-graft war.

She also alleged that the APC government had perfected plans to prosecute prominent members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, including herself, on trumped-up charges in a Lagos State government-controlled court.

She urged the court to stop the defendants from being used against her by the Federal Government.

She had on August 26, 2015 obtained an order of interim injunction from Justice Mohammed Yunusa restraining the defendants from taking any action against her pending the final determination of the suit.

But the AGF and the Inspector General of Police filed a preliminary objection, contending that Oduah failed to establish any cause of action against them, having not proved that she had been invited, arrested or detained by the AGF and the IGP.

They also challenged the jurisdiction of the Lagos division of the Federal High Court to hear Oduah’s suit on the grounds that the alleged rights violation did not take place in Lagos.

They further contended that by virtue of Section 46(1) of the constitution and Order 2 Rule 1 of the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure, only a court within the state where Oduah’s rights were allegedly violated could hear the case.

The EFCC, had also described Oduah’s suit as baseless and speculative.

Court Adjourns Fani-Kayode’s Money Laundering Case To July 1

Court Adjourns Fani-Kayode's Money Laundering Case To July 1A Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi in Lagos State, south-west Nigeria, has adjourned  to July 1, the 2.1 million Naira money laundering suit against former Minister of Aviation, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode.

Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia had fixed Thursday for the judgement after the adoption of final written addresses and arguments by the defence and prosecution counsel.

She cited the absence of Prosecuting Counsel, Festus Keyamo, as reason for not delivering the judgement.

The trial in the case filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) began in 2008 before Justice Ramat Mohammed, with an initial charge of laundering about 230 million Naira while Mr Fani-Kayode was a Federal Minister.

The charge was later amended and the amount reduced to 100 million Naira and finally 2.1 million Naira, with the judge dismissing 38 out of the 40 counts leveled by the EFCC against Mr Fani-Kayode.

Fani-Kayode was the Director of Media and Publicity for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign Organisation during the 2015 elections.

Fani-Kayode Meets Jonathan Behind Closed Doors

Femi-Fani-Kayode-2Former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode on Tuesday had a closed door meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan.

Fani-Kayode, a member of the opposition party, All Progressives Congress, (APC) was formerly a member of the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) and served as minister during the Olusegun Obasanjo administration.

Although he refused to disclose the details of his meeting with President Jonathan, he told journalists that well-meaning Nigerians should visit the President from time to time in order to help move the nation forward, irrespective of their opposing views on governance and related issues.

“I have always believed that every Nigerian, regardless of whatever side of the political divide you are on, should be able to come to the Villa from time to time to discuss issues and see how they can help in moving the country forward,” he said.

He had on several occasions castigated the present administration and had even predicted the end of the PDP, following a letter by former President Olusegun Obasanjo to the sitting president accusing him of several misdeeds.

On an edition of Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, Fani-Kayode had said the controversial 18 page letter written by Obasanjo spelt doom for President Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP, as it would act as a catalyst to terminate President Jonathan’s 2015 ambition.

“I believe that Obasanjo’s letter will end up ensuring President Goodluck Jonathan’s fortunes as President of the country post 2015 may not be realised.

“I believe this is the end of Jonathan and I believe this is the end of the PDP as a party, unless Jonathan retraces his steps,” he said.

However, following his meeting with the President last night, Fani-Kayode said “this is a Presidential Villa, the President is a President of Nigeria and every single person in this country that is a Nigerian is entitled to come here from time to time, when the doors are open to come and pay their respect to the wonderful people that are here. As a Nigerian, I have done that today and I am delighted to be here,” he said.

On possibilities of moving back with the PDP, he said “the step that I will take will be made known to Nigerians at the right time.