THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday relocated a former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, to Lagos for further interrogation on the N2.5billion illegally withdrawn from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and paid into the accounts of six chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Goodluck Support Group (GSG).
Fani-Kayode was allocated about N840million from the funds which were used for the 2015 presidential campaign.
It was gathered that the ex-minister was moved to Lagos last night because of some fresh clues which a team of EFCC operatives will still interrogate him on.
According to a top source “The ex-minister has been taken to Lagos for further grilling based on some fresh issues which have been isolated for him to respond to.
“If you can recall, some of the suspects implicated in the N2.5billion scandal were quizzed in Abuja and Enugu before being transferred to Lagos.
“Definitely, we need to clarify certain facts from the ex-minister in Lagos. He might still be detained for a few days. Do not forget that the EFCC has secured a remand warrant to keep Fani-Kayode in custody.”
Sections 293(1) and 296(1) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 allow the EFCC to detain the ex-minister.
The section says “a suspect arrested for an offence which a Magistrate’s Court has no jurisdiction to try shall within a reasonable time of arrest be brought before a Magistrate Court for remand.”
Section 296(1) of the ACJ Act says “where an order of remand of the suspect is made pursuant to Section 293 of this Act, the order shall be for a period of not exceeding 14 days in the first instance and case shall be returnable within the same period.
The controversial N2.5billion largesse was shared as follows: Fani-Kayode (N840million); Goodluck Support Group (N320million); Achike Udenwa and Viola Onwuliri (N350million); Nenadi Usman (N140million); Olu Falae (N100m) and Okey Ezenwa (N100million).
Out of the six people implicated in the scandal, three former public office holders have been questioned by the EFCC, including Nenadi, Udenwa and Fani-Kayode.
Findings by the EFCC indicated that Fani-Kayode’s share of N840million was paid in three tranches into his account.
A top source said: “The first tranche of payment, involving N350million, hit the account on February 19, 2015. Another N250milion was also paid into the account on February19, 2015, while N240million was similarly credited to the account a month later, precisely March 19, 2015.
“The balance on this account as at 31st December, 2015 was N189, 402.72.
“Next in the pecking order of beneficiaries of the heist was the Goodluck Support Group which allegedly received N320million.
“Similarly, Falae allegedly received N100m through Marreco Limited, a company where he is Chairman. The funds were credited into the company’s United Bank for Africa Plc account No. 1000627022 on March 25, 2014.
“Both Achike Udenwa and Viola Onwuliri got N350million in two tranches. The first tranche of N150million was paid into their joint account with Zenith Bank on January 13, 2015. The second tranche of N200miilion was credited into their account with Diamond Bank.
“Coming at the rear was Okey Ezenwa who also pocketed N100million.”
An aide of the embattled former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, has alleged that his principal was still being detained by the EFCC after meeting bail conditions.
The Special Assistant to the ex-minister, Jude Ndukwe, raised the concern in a statement in Abuja.
The statement said: “The dictatorial, vengeful, vindictive and scurrilous use of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by the APC-led federal government to achieve sinister purposes against vocal individuals and members of the opposition has once again played itself out in the macabre continued detention of Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, five days after fulfilling all his bail conditions.
“We are appalled by this risible development, but not surprised at all by it because that has been the hallmark of this current administration.
“Rather than work to improve on its reprehensible anti-democratic record, the Buhari-led administration has insisted on continuing in its self-engineered free nose-dive into the abyss of autocracy and the infamy of gross abuse of citizens’ rights.
“This tactic of keeping key and vocal members of the opposition out of circulation without due regard to our laws and or harass them with charges that cannot stand the test of judicial requirements has got to stop.
“The sweet smelling savour of democracy will be polluted when the opposition is stifled.
“The continued holding of Chief Femi Fani-Kayode in the EFCC custody for this long despite meeting his bail conditions goes a long way to show that this fight is not about corruption after all, but all about silencing the opposition.
“We condemn in very strong terms these acts of intimidation and harassment and request that he be released forthwith even as we call on all well-meaning Nigerians to know who to hold responsible should anything untoward happen to Chief Femi Fani-Kayode.
“This act of executive rascality, at a time when Nigerians are groaning more than ever before over the economic hardship inflicted on them by this administration, is needless. It will achieve nothing but will only lead to a puerile end”.