Court adjourns hearing in Fani-Kayode’s money laundering trial

Femi Fani-Kayode

A defence witness, Kola Olapoju, on Wednesday told a Federal High Court in Lagos that the transactions which led to the trial of a former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, were “unusual and exceptional.”

Mr. Olapoju, who is the first defence witness, said this while being cross-examined by Festus Keyamo, Counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

The EFCC is prosecuting Mr. Fani-Kayode before Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, for money laundering charges he allegedly committed while serving as Minister of Culture and Tourism, and later Aviation.

The witness, who is also a co-administrator of Mr. Fani-Kayode’s late father’s estate, told the court that the accused in 2006 requested for funds from the estate to pay some artisans who carried out repair work on the property.

Mr. Olapoju said he had known the accused for over 20 years and that he had been managing the estate for about 14 years. He said that there were five beneficiaries of the estate, but were now four beneficiaries.

“It is not usual for any of the beneficiaries to withdraw funds. It is the core administrator that gives instructions on funds withdrawal,” Mr. Olapoju said.

The witness further stated that he had always been in regular contact with Mr. Fani-Kayode, until he became minister.

He said the accused then instructed him to always take instruction from his Chief of Staff, Aderemi Ajidahun, on what to do in relation to the estate.

While speaking on the transactions, Mr. Olapoju recalled that Mr. Fani-Kayode had asked him to “urgently” get funds from tenants to pay artisans who carried out repairs in the estate.

“In other to abridge time, I went out of my way to demand that a cheque be issued in my name, since I was in Abuja.

“I cashed the cheque and related with his Chief of Staff (Ajidahun), who later instructed that the cash be deposited in a bank account of the accused by Supo Agbaje, his Personal Assistant.

“I went to the bank with Agbaje, but I did not go into the banking hall with him,” Mr. Olapoju said.

The witness said that the payments were made on September 21 and 29, 2006.

He, however, admitted that he did not see Mr. Agbaje depositing the cash into the account, and did not know whether there was any communication between Agbaje and the accused.

Mr. Ajidahun, testifying as the second defence witness, before the court, said that he was appointed by Fani-Kayode as his Chief of Staff, being an expert in Media, Hospitality and Branding Consultancy.

Mr. Keyamo, while cross-examining the witness, said that he was just out to lie to the court so that his accused-friend could be freed.

The judge, however, adjourned further hearing in the case till March 26, for the testimony of the third defence witness.

Mrs. Ofili-Ajumogobia had earlier dismissed 38 out of the 40 counts against the accused. She ruled that Mr. Fani-Kayode, who speaks for President Goodluck Jonathan’s campaign team, has a case to answer on the other two counts.

(NAN)


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  • Burbank

    FFK facing his EFCC trial in Lagos on June 18 – with Buhari in attendance in the public gallery.

  • Wesley

    in 1999, Edo State elected Mr. Lucky Igbinedion as the 2nd Executive Governor of the State. In the same year, Lagos State elected Mr. Bola Tinubu.

    By 2007 when both governors served out their two terms, Edo State, under Governor Lucky Igbinedion regressed so badly – its civil service comatose, teachers unpaid for years, Central Hospital and other health institutions on life support. No single major infrastructure was constructed by the Igbinedion government. Nor did the Igbinedion government put a development masterplan in place. Even worse, Edo State was robbed silly by Governor Igbinedion and his cronies and faced corruption charges after his inept tenure, which a bungling EFCC and a corrupt judiciary helped him escape jail-time with a slap on the wrist, unlike his brother in Delta State, who would serve jail time in London.

    On the other hand, Lagos State progressed and became a model state for governance. The masterplan and human resources that Mr. Bola Tinubu developed has seen Lagos State become the 6th largest economy in Africa. The irony was that the Igbinedions and their cronies they empowered, stole Edo State money and invested in Lagos State and other cities, outside Edo State.

    So when Osasu Igbinedion decides to write a piece like this talking about Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, elections, good governance and corruption, she should know that she unfortunately doesn’t come from a good political stock. She is a direct beneficiary of corruption. And also a lot of us as well, whose parents corruptly enriched themselves while in government.

    But her point about fleeting power is correct. She also knows about fleeting power too. Her dad, H.E, Lucky Igbinedion tasted it.

    • Wesley

      Its quite telling that of all the many respondents that she featured on the Osasu Show, her best example is the market trader who openly advocated for the return of corruption on TV.

      Well, no surprises there.

      Let’s not dwell too much about her understanding of economics. She is a broadcast journalist and not a bloody economist. But I wish she could do an episode of the Osasu Show in Edo State, focusing on her dad’s legacies and the PDP’s 8 years in government in Edo State.

    • fosi

      I wonder why the use of Lee Kwan Yew? She should have come closer home and used her father’s example of good governance. Osasu should have at the back of her mind that everything she has today: education, job, money etc were all made possible because of the money her father stole from Edo state government.