Witness admits collecting N26m for Fani-Kayode
Victor Ehiabhi, the first witness to testify in Fani-Kayode’s trial, said he was sent by the defendant to accompany his gardener, Francis, and a domestic staff, Esther, to the NSA’s office
A prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of Femi Fani-Kayode on Tuesday told a Federal High Court, Abuja how he collected N26 million for the defendant from the Office of the National Security Advisers.
Fani-Kayode is a former Minister of Aviation.
Victor Ehiabhi, the first witness to testify in Fani-Kayode’s trial, said he was sent by the defendant to accompany his gardener, Francis, and a domestic staff, Esther, to the NSA’s office.
Led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Johnson Ojogbane, the witness said he was a police officer at the Force Criminal Investigative Department before he was deployed as Fani-Kayode’s security aide.
He explained that his schedule of duty included providing security for the defendant’s household and his property.
Ehiabhi said on November 21, 2014, Francis called him on phone and told him that the defendant directed them to go to the NSA’s office at the Presidential Villa.
He said on getting there as instructed, he was given a document to sign on behalf of the defendant who was absent.
Ehiabhi said: “In the document, I endorsed the sum of N26 million, which was meant for the defendant.
“I initially refused to endorse the document, but the man insisted that hence I was a police officer, I was to endorse the document.
“He brought the N26 million in cash, which was in a bag, gave it to me, I then took it to the defendant’s house, who I later called.”
Ehiabhi added that the defendant later called him to ensure maximum security in the house until his arrival and on his arrival, “I handed over the N26 million to him”.
Responding to the prosecution’s question on why he was invited by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the witness said it was because he was the defendant’s security aide.
He said when he was invited to the EFCC’s office, an official of the commission brought the document he signed at the NSA’s office on November 21, 2014.
The defence counsel, Wale Balogun, who stood for Ahmed Raji (SAN), pleaded with the court to adjourn the matter to enable Raji cross examine the witness.
Balogun had earlier told the court that Raji was absent in court because he missed his flight to Abuja.
Justice John Tsoho then adjourned the case till June 6 for cross examination of the witness.
Fani-Kayode was arraigned by EFCC before Justice Tsoho on a fresh five-count charge bordering on money laundering.
The ex-aviation minister was accused of allegedly collecting N26 million from the office of the former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (retd), and using same for media campaign as the spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Organization.
Fani-Kayode is also facing another 17-count charge of money laundering before the Lagos Division of the court.