Despite being prosecuted for graft, Fani-Kayode arrives court with armed police escorts

Femi Fani-Kayode

A former Nigerian Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, arrived the premises of the Federal High Court in Lagos, Wednesday, accompanied by a contingent of armed police officers, despite being under prosecution by the federal government for money laundering.

The former minister is facing a two-count charge of money laundering before Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia.

He was recently appointed the Director of Media and Publicity of the Goodluck/Sambo Presidential Campaign Organization. Although he serves on the president’s campaign team, Mr. Fani-Kayode is currently not recognised as a public official by Nigerian laws.

Unlike in the past when, as a member of the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, he made his court appearances virtually unaccompanied; Mr. Fani-Kayode now arrives the court premises accompanied by armed police officers and State Security Services, SSS, officers.

On Wednesday, half a dozen armed police officers leapt out of a trailing patrol van as Mr. Fani-Kayode arrived the court premises, with one hurrying to open his car door.

Kola Olapoju, a defence witness, told the court, during cross examination, that Mr. Fani-Kayode in 2006 requested for N1 million to “urgently” offset debts despite having over N8 million in his bank account.

Mr. Olapoju, the administrator of the Fani-Kayodes’ estate, said that he was instructed by the ex-minister to release the money for the payment of artisans who had renovated his property.

“That wasn’t the first time the accused (Mr. Fani-Kayode) will be calling (on the phone) for money,” Mr. Olapoju, the first defence witness, said during cross examination, noting that the transaction was “unusual and exceptional.”

“Most of the time monies were requested for projects or for relatives or other beneficiaries and those were to be disbursed directly. And the few instances where he had to use the money, I’d have to pay either into his account, give to a staff, or use as appropriately directed.”

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had initially instituted a 47-count charge amounting to N230 million against the defendant, later pruning it down to 40 counts of N100 million.

Last November, the judge dismissed 38 out of the 40 counts – leaving the prosecution to dwell on why Mr. Fani-Kayode received about N2.2 million “without going through a financial institution.”

On Tuesday, the judge ordered the EFCC to release the former minister’s international passport seized by the commission following an order by Justice Ramat Mohammed when the trial started in December 2008.

Mrs. Ofili-Ajumogobia is the third judge to handle the matter since then.

Mr. Olapoju said that in 2005, when Mr. Fani-Kayode joined the government of then President Olusegun Obasanjo, regular communications with him was “no longer as easy as it used to be.”

He said that Mr. Fani-Kayode asked him to “urgently” provide funds from tenants of their estate to pay the artisans.

“He called me by phone for money to pay artisans renovating the building,” Mr. Olapoju, who said he had been managing the Fani-Kayodes’ account for 14 years, said.

“To avoid delay of the money, I went out of my way to demand a cheque be prepared in my name, to save more time.

“After the second payment, about two weeks after, the accused (Mr. Fani-Kayode) called to enquire if the money had been paid.”

According to the witness, he deposited the first tranche of money – N1 million – on September 21, 2006, and the second payment – N1.1 million – was made eight days later.

“I had the instructions of the accused’s Chief of Staff to remit the money. In fact, by the time I took the latter one he informed me the artisans had been paid,” said the witness who added that he had a “standing instruction” from Mr. Fani-Kayode.

“For two weeks, they did not tell the accused money had been paid into his account.”

But the witness said he was unaware his client’s bank account contained far more money that he was depositing for the payment of the artisans.

He also said that he gave the cash to one Supo Agbaje to pay into Mr. Fani-Kayode’s account but was not aware if Mr. Agbaje paid the money because he dropped him off outside the bank on his way to the airport.

The EFCC said Mr. Agbaje, then Personal Assistant to Mr. Fani-Kayode, is now at large.

Aderemi Ajidahun, the second defence witness, told the court that Mr. Olapoju had arrived at the accused’s office with cash for his boss.

Mr. Ajidahun, who was Mr. Fani-Kayode’s Chief of Staff during the latter’s tenure as a minister, said they were childhood friends.

“One day around that time (in 2006), he (Mr. Olapoju) walked into my office and said he wanted to see the accused. I told him he was not around, in fact, he was not in Nigeria. He told me he had some funds for the accused.

“The accused does not handle money. I told him to go deposit in the bank. He said he was in a rush. At that point I called Agbaje and asked him to follow him to the bank and pay the money into the bank.

On September 29, Mr. Ajidahun said he received another call from Mr. Olapoju informing him he was in their office with cash for the accused.

“Again, the accused, and myself, was not in the office. I asked him to call Agbaje who assisted him the other time to go pay the money into the bank.”

The judge adjourned the trial to March 26 for the defence’s third witness.


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  • amazing2012

    Jonathan anti corruption strategy ! Suspect protected by the state while good innocent has no security to protect them. After March all these non sense will be over !!

    • eddy

      For sure my brother.

  • OLODODO

    General Muhammadu Buhari in UK: I Will Maintain a Modest Lifestyle as President – Buhari…Will Resuscitate Nigerian Airways…All Presidential Aircrafts Will Be Brought Under Nigerian Airways “One of the major killer of our economy apart from corruption is Waste. Our scarce resources are being plundered away very carelessly and unnecessarily wasted. “Let me give an instance, presently, there are more than 6 aircraft in the presidential fleet. What do you call that? “Billions of naira is budgeted every year for the maintenance of these aircraft not to talk of operational cost and other expenses. “You may want to ask what a Nigerian President is doing with so much aircraft when a Prime Minister of Britain fly around using the same public aircraft like an ordinary Briton. “Go and check and compare with that of any developed country in the world, the office of the Nigerian President is a very expensive one inspite our high level of poverty and joblessness. “Despite all these, you still find a Nigerian Minister spending about N10billion to charter an aircraft for just one year.”Now, for me, when we come into office, all these waste will be blocked and properly channelled into our economy.”We intend for instance, to bring back our National carrier, the Nigerian Airways.”We shall do this by bringing all the aircraft in the presidential fleet into the Nigerian airway and within a year increase the fleet into about 20.”What is the difference between me and those who elected us to represent them, absolutely nothing. Why should Nigerian President not fly with other Nigerian public?”Why do I need to embark on a foreign trip as a president with a huge crowd with public funds?”Why do I need to go for foreign medical trip if we cannot make our hospital functional?”Why do we need to send our children to school abroad if we cannot develop our university to compete with the foreign ones?”Why, and why must our people be servants to the foreigners in the midst of plenty? I can go on and on.”I came here in the UK and I chose to trek just to make sure I send a message back home to some people who wish us dead.”This is not my struggle, it is our collective efforts to save Nigeria from those who have failed us for 16 years.”- General Muhammadu Buhari speaking in London. Written by Taiwo Adediran, Royal Times Onlines.

    • This is one big opportunity Nigerians should not allow to slip out of our hands. Buhari represent the poor masses of Nigeria. Buhari represent the rallying point for the frustrated and teaming masses of Nigeria. Buhari represent justice for the ordinary people who have been abandoned. Buhari is just concerned about the state of things in this country. Buhari will clean up the mess and we shall be proud of this country Again. If the people of Nigeria missed this ample opportunity to liberate ourselves from inept and clueless federal government led by pdp, it will take us million years to get it right.

      • CHRISTOPHER AGBO

        Buhar is Nigeria’s solution, he will restore this country to its former glory, Nigeria will truly become the GIANT OF AFRICA, Nigerians would be respected all over the world, Buhari will increase the value of Naira, provide adequate security, quality education, well-paying jobs, and a very low rate of poverty in Nigeria, we will be a beacon for the nations of Africa, we will reach the promise land, we will be God’s chosen people.

      • larry

        Buhari and IBB are useless leaders who will never be allowed to lead this country EVER.

        • Tunsj

          According to “Larry” only.

          • larry

            ? .

    • mao

      May God give us victory over our oppresors. Every Nigerian with half a brain knows what is right. Lets purge ourselves of ethnic and religious biases. Its time to liberate ourselves from this gang of criminals called PDP.

  • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

    Beware, the ides of March.

    The FFK trial has suddenly developed wings because this is part of the “settlement” promised by GEJ. They are aware that they may soon be swept out of the corridors of power so they are seeking to expedite judgement and actions on all these previously comatose corruption trials.

    Cue, the Babalakin contrived judgement; cue the FFK cases. There would be several of these between now and May in order to be able to claim protection under the laws of double jeopardy!

    But they forget a crucial factor i.e. the current cases and charges are ill-prepared and not extensive enough. Future investigations and prosecutions would be more thorough, detailed and professional in order to serve the course of justice.

    Let them continue to delude themselves. The higher up the tree a monkey climbs, the more exposed its naked behind is exposed.

    • Duru

      where were you when the current speaker of Lagos states was standing corruption trial for years ? APC and all their supporters never advised him to step down . for your information in Nigeria law the accrues remains innocent until court pronounce otherwise,

      • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

        Durum my opinion on that rascal is within the public domain.

        Where were you when I wrote my opinions?

    • Tunsj

      Well put. Kay, who are the lunatics that demonstrated against Buhari in London?

      • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

        Thanks, bruv.

        They were mostly social misfits living in hostels around Manchester and London. Organised by a girl called Abi and mobilised with silly money.

        Can you imagine, they weren’t even clued-up on why they were protesting against GMB?

        Some weren’t even Nigerians!

        Sad to say, this is how the $20m went down the drain and those guys won’t even spend a penny of the money at 805 Old Kent Road!!

        • Tunsj

          They look desperate and hungry. The U.K immigration office should have been there checking their papers. The guy with a PhD in “Zoology” without a thesis, from Otueke has lost all credibility.

          • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

            lol

            I believe these were guys who are definitely Britons, mostly third generation.

            Lost and dispossessed.

  • Truthometer

    Thieves and cutthroats must be protected in Nigeria of Goodluck Jonathan/PDP. They are all partners in crime. God bless Nigeria.

  • True son of the soil

    That what I call transformation

  • djay

    Let him enjoy himself while it last.

  • TAWANDA INCOMMUNICADO

    Every Nigerian citizen is entitled to protection by the security agencies,that is what the constitution states !!

    • Zarto Ali

      It’s unfortunate!

    • zacchaeus Akinleye

      Nigerian lives are being snuffed out by armed robbers, hired killers, ritualists and terrorists because of inadequate security, yet an accused person standing trial protected by twelve armed security personnel makes sense to your depraved soul?

      • TAWANDA INCOMMUNICADO

        Well, the law holds an accused innocent till proven guilty so it is well within the rights of FFK to apply for protection !

        • August January

          You’ve long decided to die a mumu! When Fani-thief (your fellow thief) appeared in court before he became the mouthpiece of President Jonathan, how many police or DSS escorted him? Shameless President!

  • Olu Ade

    No shaking…their days in govt is numbered.

  • Emancipation

    FFK is only involved in a presidential thievery, That’s the reason for the presidential escort.

  • Omooba Adekunle Orafidiya

    Does Premium Times know that there’s a world of difference between prosecution and conviction? Has partisanship stripped Premium Times of all sense of reasoning?

    • Andrew

      I agree with you but the prosecutors represent the government which to me means the government believe they have probably cause to believe he committed the crime. I think it is odd that he is involved in the campaign of the incumbent president who is the chief executive of the government that is prosecuting him.

    • Gaskiya

      You are the one who lacks reasoning, not PT. Only people with destructive tendencies will support Jonathan who has woefully failed Nigerians.

      • CHRISTOPHER AGBO

        GEJ and his Preposterous Disturbed Peoples :(PDP), are behind Boko Haram

    • Funso

      Ọmọ àlè Femi Fanikayode Orafidiya

      • hot head

        @Funso>>You got him. He is the one. That’s exactly his style and thought-process

    • Progress

      Even so what qualify that jester for police and DSS escorts! Who is he in the eyes of the law? An accursed accuse!

  • omo oba

    Jonathan has turned Nigeria into a comic state where jesters parade as nobles.

  • Amir

    Gbana don finish this man, kai.

  • SAM .A

    The ephemeral of Power ,today FFK had a lorry load of police escort to court. On 29th of March ,u are on your own . No aide no police . So enjoy this your temporary power before it expire .

    • CHRISTOPHER AGBO

      On 29th of march, Buhari and his family will move into the Aso Rock, by God’s grace.

      • Tunsj

        Amen! Amen!

  • New Nigerian

    The whole point of this is to secure his international passport – he is preparing his “take-off” after we have overwhelmingly voted for Buhari. Memo to all foreign governments, this man should not be allowed into your borders as he has a case (from the Nigerian people) to answer…

    • CHRISTOPHER AGBO

      You are right, he is afraid Buhari would put him in jail.

  • favourtalk

    That is what nigeria has turned into, they have taking sanity away and put wickedness and insincerity in the heart of all in nigeria, we need a better nation to help us move forward. We need change, to send away looters and hulligalism

  • cadian

    Not surprised by this. People in charge of governance tend to do things in their own interest.
    Not too long ago the IG withdrew escort of a sitting speaker. Now FFK that ought to be behind bars is being escorted.
    God save our dear country.

  • True

    Have you heard of ‘innocent until proven’ guilty before? How many police ana

  • kelebook

    Shameless man! You will die of greed.

  • igbiki

    Jonathan is fighting corruption and this is how Mr Jonathan fights corruption.

    1. By appointing known corrupt people into his government.
    2. By souroundinng himself with corrupt people.
    3. By dillydallying with corrupt people.
    4. By partying, wining and dining with corrupt people.
    5. By giving state pardon to people convicted of corruption before his government.
    6. By making sure that there will be nomore prisons in Nigeria where they’d have put corrupt people.
    7. By allowing an Italian contractor to build a church in his village so he would give him a contract.
    8. By giving criminals police escort during their court apearance for graft.
    9. By allocating himself 90.04 hectares of land in the Abuja Aviation Village barely seven months after getting to office.
    !0.By selling OPL 245 and OPL 214, federal government property, and sharing the money with his clique.
    ect. etc.. etc…

  • bib

    If you want to become a VVIP in GEJ govt, just ‘capture’ millions of Nigeria money and be’arraigned’ by EFCC! Hear what Prof Wole Soyinka said about GEJ govt.
    > > “The Nigerian president however appeared totally at ease. What the nation witnessed in the photo-op was an affirmation of a governance principle, the revelation of a decided frame of mind – with precedents galore. Goodluck Jonathan has brought back into limelight more political reprobates – thus attested in criminal courts of law and/or police investigations – than any other Head of State since the nation’s independence. It has become a reflex. “

  • August January

    Jonathan said he underestimated the capacity of Boko Haram until now, watching the life of more than 10 thousand Nigerians being cut short and more than a million displaced, but he can never underestimate the security of his mouthpiece. So, he must surround him with adequate number of security personnel! What a shameless president!

  • chi ngobar

    God, for the sake of your love and mercy, save us from these looters, thieves and corrupt public office holders who only think of themselves. There is NOTHING too hard for you to do Lord, God of Mercy

  • JAMES DANJUMA

    THE PARTY IS WELL KNOWN FOR PROTECTING CRIMINALS AND HIGH PROFILE FRAUD STARS. WE NIGERIANS MUST BE CAREFUL NOT TO MAKE THE MISTAKE OF THEIR LIVES BY RE-ELECTING THESE THIEVES AND THEIR PROTECTORS. THAT IS WHY THEY ARE DOING EVERYTHING THEY CAN TO STOP BUHARI FROM EMERGING AS THE PREFERED PRESIDENT OF THIS COUNTRY. WE MUST NOT MAKE A ONE DAY MISTAKE THAT WILL COST US ANOTHER 8 YEARS OF SUFFERING. WE MUST REJECT PDP AND ITS AGENTS THAT HAVE BEEN UNDER-DEVELOPING NIGERIA.