Friday, October 21, 2016

Fani-Kayode arrested again by EFCC


Former Director of Media and Publicity, campaign committee of ex President Goodluck Jonathan and former Aviation Minister, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, was, Friday, re-arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, after he stepped out of a court room at Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, where he is standing trial.

Fani-Kayode, was charged alongside a former Minister of Finance, Nenandi Usman, Danjuma Yusuf and a company, Joint Trust Dimension Nig. Ltd., on a 17 count charge of unlawful retention, unlawful use and unlawful payment of money in the tune of about N4.9 billion, aa charge brought against them by the EFCC.

They all pleaded not guilty to the charge and were granted bail. Friday, the prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, opened its case and had wrapped up the witness’ evidence for the day, while the court adjourned the case to November 14 and 15, 2016, for continuation of trial and rose. However, shortly after Fani-Kayode had walked out of court, two officers of the EFCC dressed in white kaftan, flanked his sides, and requested that he followed them to the commission’s office. Immediately, the court’s gate was barricaded by a toyota Hiace bus and Fani-Kayode was taken off to the EFCC. Meanwhile, Friday, EFCC had opened its case for the prosecution and called its first witness, a Media consultant, Mr Idowu Olusegun. Led him in evidence, the witness, who is media consultant, Paste Posters Company Ltd, told the court that N30 million was paid in cash to him, by the office of the Director of media and publicity, PDP campaign Organisation. According to Olusegun, he had reached an agreement with the organisation whose office is situated at 14B, Samora Micheal Avenue, Asokoro, Abuja, for the sum of N24m for media consultancy services. He said that a further negotiation was reached in which N50 would be paid for each size of A2 posters, while N20 would be paid for each size of A4 flyers. The witness told the court that after the printing job for the posters and flyers was done, he was invited to the office of the organisation and given N30 million in cash. He further told the court that he had demanded to know why payments was made in cash and was informed by one Mr Oke, that cash was the approved means of payment. He said that Mr Oke had been the person communicating with him throughout the pendency of his engagement to do the media jobs. The witness added that apart from the N30 million paid to him, there was also an outstanding payment of N24m which was not paid to his company. After his testimony and based on agreements of counsel, the court fixed November 14 and 15 for continuation of trial. Meanwhile, a mild drama played out in court during trial, when the trial judge, Justice Sule Hassan, ordered the seizure of the mobile phone of Fani-kayode. The accused had held his phones and suddenly, the phone rang out loud and the judge asked: “Who is doing that?” He ordered the court’s registrar to seize the phones. Similarly, the trial judge also issued a warning to counsel representing the accused, when he sighted him sipping from a bottle water during proceedings. The judge had warned counsel to seek the permission of the court, whenever, his client was pressed for water. According to Hassan “The court is not a market place, there must be order and sanity.” In the charge, the accused were alleged to have committed the offences between January and March 2015. In counts one to seven, they were alleged to have unlawfully retained over N3.8 billion which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act of stealing and corruption. In counts eight to 14, the accused were alleged to have unlawfully used over N970 million which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of an unlawful act of corruption.