N2.5b Fraud: I’m Not On The Run – Fani-Kayode Cries Out

imageA former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode yesterday said he was neither on the run nor gone underground to avoid being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) in connection with alleged N2.5billion scandal.

He said he is prepared to appear before EFCC for grilling whenever he is invited.

He also threatened to sue The Nation over what he described as a media trial on the scandal.

Fani-Kayode, who made his position known in a statement in Abuja, said he is not a coward

The statement said: “I have just read some absurd media reports in which The Nation newspaper have quoted their sources in the EFCC as saying that I had gone underground and that I was hiding from them. This is false. I have not been invited by the EFCC by letter and neither have they phoned me or attempted to reach me in any other way. I have been in my Abuja home for the last few weeks and I am not hiding from anyone.

“I am not a coward and this attempt to further demonise and humiliate me by the EFCC will fail. If they have any questions for me why don’t they just write to me or call me, give me a date and I will be in their office.

“ I have made my position clear on the issue of the Presidential campaign funds, I have written an essay about it in my various columns about two weeks ago and I have been waiting for the EFCC to reach me ever since then. They have invited others but they have not invited me.

“I do not believe that I have done anything wrong and this latest attempt to criminalise me and make me look like a fugitive from justice will fail.”

The ex-Minister insisted that he has not been invited by the EFCC and vowed to resist any attempt to intimidate him.

The statement added: “Others that were invited to the EFCC over this same campaign funds issue were sent letters of invitation and were reached. I appear to be the exception and now these hideous lies are being fed to the newspapers to make it look as if I am in hiding or that I am running from them just to sensationalise the whole issue.

“This is also to justify what the EFCC wish to do which is to arrest me in public, humiliate me or to storm my home and lock me up indefinitely. There is no need for all that drama and if it happens that way the Nigerian people will know why.

“I have no fear of the EFCC, I will respond to their invitation any day and anytime they send it to me and I will help them to clarify whatever issues they wish to raise in any way that I can.

“Others were invited in a civilized way and were treated in a humane and decent manner. I really do wonder why I should be treated differently, criminalised in the newspapers in this way and not even afforded the common courtesy of a formal invitation by them. I await their letter or their call and I leave those that wish to give the impression that I am running from them to God.”

In a separate letter to the Editor of The Nation , Fani-Kayode threatened to go to court over what he described as media trial on the scandal.

In the letter through his counsel, Adeola Adedipe and Ahmed Raji, the ex-Minister said: “Let it be known to you that by reason of the above afore highlighted spurious claims, you have condescended to engage in a media trial, contrary to your statutory obligations and professional ethos.

“It will also interest you to know that the EFCC has not at any time invited our Client, whether for a civil chat or to volunteer information on any perceived queries.

“Our Client is not in hiding, neither are his phones switched off nor has he gone underground. Much more important is the fact that the allegations are untrue, denigrating, fictitious and were made in bad faith. To suggest via print media that our Client has refused to report, gone underground or is in hiding; and that you will fish him out, is to say the least, most despicable and scandalous of our Client.

“We take the liberty of this moment to sensitise you of the far reaching legal implications of your unguided presumptions, comments, opinions and politically induced remarks about our Client.

“The imperative to write this letter is also shrouded in the fact that necessary legal machineries will be activated against you, in the event that you do not desist from taking other steps or actions calculated to further embarrass our Client.

“In the meantime, you are hereby advised to retract the said comments made about our Client and tender an unreserved apology to him through the same medium and any other widely read/circulated media outfit.

“Our Client reserves legal protection by operation of law and we will be left with no preferred alternative than to enforce or seek such remedies against you and Yusuf Alli, if you fail to so do within 7days. You are also advised to enter into negotiation for damages. We anticipate your cooperation.”

Fani-Kayode had been engaged in a hide and seek game since when the EFCC launched investigation into the N2.5billion scandal.

Out of the six people implicated in the scandal, only a former Minister of Finance, Mrs. Nenadi Usman had been grilled by the anti-graft agency.

The details of how the largesse was shared are: Fani-Kayode (N840million); Goodluck Support Group (N320million); Achike Udenwa and Viola Onwuliri (N350million); Nenadi Usman (N140million); Olu Falae(N100m) and Okey Ezenwa (N100million)

Nenadi, who was granted administrative bail on health grounds, was expected for more interrogation in Lagos this week.

She allegedly owns an account, titled “Joint Trust Dimension Nigeria Limited,” where substantial part of the funds was lodged and disbursed to party chieftains.

Fani-Kayode was rated as “the chief beneficiary” of the disbursement of the slush funds as he allegedly received N840million, paid in three tranches into his Zenith Bank, Maitama branch account with No.1004735721.

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