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Fani-Kayode Under Fresh EFCC Probe Over Forgery Allegation

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Fani-Kayode Under Fresh EFCC Probe Over Forgery Allegation
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Fani-Kayode under fresh EFCC probe over forgery allegation

THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is investigating a former Minister of Aviation Femi Fani-Kayode on a fresh development bordering on forgery before a Federal High Court, Lagos.

The Lagos EFCC office is expecting Fani-Kayode on November 24, 2021, to answer questions on possible forgery of hospital documents to hoodwink the court handling the case against him on money-laundering allegations with a view to stalling hearing.

The ICIR learnt that Fani-Kayode might well be deploying a contrived method between him and some medical personnel on the medical excuses to enable him evade trial.

The EFCC, after receiving the defendant’s latest letter, observed the trend Fani-Kayode’s letters had taken in getting adjournments and decided to take a hard look at the development.

The agency observed all the letters were supposedly issued from the Kubwa General Hospital, Abuja, except one issued from the Federal Staff Hospital, Federal Ministry of Health, Abuja.

The letters were signed by different doctors, with the last one in October stating that the “patient (Fani-Kayode) has been diagnosed by one Dr. S. A. Tobechukwu” and signed by him.

The agency wrote to the Kubwa General Hospital on October 12, 2021 seeking authenticity of the letter. The hospital replied the next day, October 13, 2021, debunking Fani-Kayode’s claim and declaring there was no Doctor Tobechukwu in its employment and that, in fact, none of the names of the ‘doctors’ who purportedly issued the five letters existed
in the hospital’s records.

The hospital also disclosed that no Femi Fani-Kayode had ever been diagnosed or treated as a patient at the hospital. The letterhead on the paper that Fani-Kayode used for his letters, the hospital stated, was fake and did not bear its reference number, just as the format of the patient’s number that he used did not tally with the format in the hospital’s database.

Consequent upon that finding, the EFCC wrote to Fani-Kayode on November 4, 2021, inviting him to report at its Lagos office on November 10, 2021, for a chat.

Fani-Kayode responded to the EFCC letter on November 9, 2021, stating he would be unable to honour the invitation because he would be appearing before an Abuja court on Tuesday, November 16, 2021, in a criminal case, and would need to prepare for the case with his lawyers. He requested that the agency shift the date to November 17 or 18, 2021.

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But he did not show up on the newly appointed day. Instead, he again said he would honour the invitation on November 24, 2021, and should be allowed to appear at the Abuja office instead of the Lagos office of the EFCC. But the agency promptly rejected his request to appear at the Abuja office rather than the Lagos office as the money laundering case against him that had elicited the invitation to him was being heard at a Federal High
Court, Lagos, and not in Abuja.

The EFCC had on June 28, 2016, arraigned Fani-Kayode; Nenadi Usman, who was the Minister of State for Finance during the former president Goodluck Jonathan administration; Yusuf Danjuma, a former Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), and a limited liability company, Jointrust Dimentions Nig. Ltd. before Justice
Muhammed Aikawa on a 17-count charge of the N4.6 billion money laundering trial.

The defendants were alleged to have committed the offences between January and March 2015, shortly before Jonathan left office in May 2015 following his defeat to President Muhammadu Buhari in the presidential election. Fani-Kayode, who was the Director of Media and Publicity in the Jonathan government and a member of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in September this year).

The defendants pleaded not guilty to all the counts and were granted bail.

In the charge, Fani-Kayode alone was accused of making payments to Paste Poster Co. of No. 125, Lewis Street, Lagos, above the maximum amount allowed by law. He was also said, in counts 15-17, together with one Olubode Oke, who is at large, to have made cash payments of about N130 million, in excess of the amount allowed by
law.

The EFCC alleged in counts 1 to 7 of the charge that the defendants unlawfully retained a sum of over N3.8 billion “they should have known formed part of proceeds of stealing and corruption.”

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They were also alleged in counts 8 to 14 to have unlawfully used a sum of over N970
million, “which they reasonably ought to have known was part of corruption money.”

But the trial has suffered many adjournments, mainly due to Fani-Kayode’s request for adjournment on medical grounds.

According to the court’s records, Fani-Kayode had written to the court seeking adjournment on February 1, 2018; May 20, 2019; November 24, 2020; March 21, 2021, and October 9, 2021.

At the last hearing on October 13, 2021, Bilikisu Buhari, who had announced an appearance for the prosecution, told the court that the EFCC had received Fani-Kayode’s letter on October 11, 2021, stating a doctor had given him bed rest.

Buhari said letters from the defendant had become the fashion whenever he wanted to avoid a court appearance.
“Whenever he wants to avoid court, this is the type of letter we get,” she said.

Justice Daniel Osaigor, who had been assigned the case after Aikawa was transferred out of the Lagos jurisdiction of the court, also expressed his dissatisfaction with the former aviation minister’s absence in court and his numerous medical excuses.

Osaigor said he had examined the court file on the case and noted that the defendant had
sought adjournment on five occasions on virtually the same medical grounds.

The judge then fined Fani-Kayode a sum of N200,000, to be paid before the next adjournment date or he would revoke the bail the court had granted him, saying, “the recurring medical excuse has been a pattern that slows this trial.”

* Fani-Kayode blames medical doctor for alleged forgery

The ICIR contacted Fani-Kayode over the forgery allegation raised by the EFCC.

Fani-Kayode sent his spokesperson, who identified herself as Gloria Brown, to respond to the allegations at the Abuja head office of The ICIR.

Brown, who also identified herself as Fani-Kayode’s official spokesperson, said the former aviation minister did not forge medical reports as alleged by the anti-graft commission.

Instead, she blamed the alleged forgery on a medical doctor, whom she claimed signed medical reports he issued to Fani-Kayode with different names.

Brown confirmed that ‘Doctor Usman’ and ‘Doctor Tobechukwu’ are the medical doctors’ names on various medical reports signed and submitted to the court.

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In an interview with The ICIR, she said, “What happened is he (Fani-Kayode) has a doctor who comes to treat him at home on private practice. Within five years that this case has been on, he has been going to court about seven to nine times in a year, and he only missed for five times and each time, it was basically on health issues that were beyond his control. Usually, this doctor comes to treat him and then goes ahead to produce the medical certificate from his hospital.

“Where the issue of the forged certificate is coming from is what we can’t really place our hands on at the moment. There was no forged medical certificate that he obtained – a doctor in that same hospital obtained the medical certificate.”

But Fani-Kayode’s spokesperson refused to disclose the medical doctor’s real name.

“I will not want to disclose the name of the doctor because the investigation is ongoing,” she said.

She insisted that the doctor’s real name was in two earlier medical reports that he issued to Fani-Kayode.

“We cannot place our hands on why he started using a different name in the last three medical reports. If anybody should answer the question, it is the doctor; he has to explain why he had to use a different name to produce those medical reports.”

Questioned further, Brown noted that although Fani-Kayode was the beneficiary of the medical reports, “it was the doctor that produced it with a different name and sent it to the lawyer”.

Brown alleged that conspiracy was involved in the matter and suggested that the doctor was being used to frame up the former minister.

Asked if Fani-Kayode’s team got in touch with the medical doctor to seek explanations for allegedly issuing the medical reports with different names, she said, “Having known that investigations were going on, we didn’t bother ourselves to do that anymore.”

However, Fani-Kayode’s spokesperson refused to speak on camera when The ICIR requested that the interview be recorded on video.

Brown initially agreed to participate in a video interview but suddenly declined when the session was about to commence.

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#EndSARS: Lagos white paper an attempt to conceal the truth – YRC

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#EndSARS: Lagos white paper an attempt to conceal the truth – YRC
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#EndSARS: Lagos white paper an attempt to conceal the truth – YRC

A group, Youth Rights Campaign (YRC) has condemned the white paper issued by the Lagos State government on the report of the Lagos State Judicial Panel Inquiry.

Our correspondent gathered that youths across the country had last year staged protests christened End SARS in order to kick against atrocities committed by some overzealous policemen.

DAILY POST recalls that a panel was set up to look into allegations of shootings and killing of protesters at Lekki Tollgate in October 2020 following the protests last year.

Our correspondent gathered that governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos state had a few days ago received the report of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry on the shooting at Lekki Toll Gate and other acts of police brutality around the State.

The governor after receiving the report rejected some of the recommendations of the panel.

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The governor on Tuesday then released a white paper.

YRC, however, in its reaction, described the white paper as an attempt to water down and sidestep the main recommendations of the panel.

The group in a statement made available to DAILY POST through its National Coordinator, Michael Lenin and National Secretary, Francis Nwapa, demand full implementation of the recommendations of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry.

The duo in the statement issued on Wednesday, explained that the Lagos state government rejected the findings of the panel so as to neuter the main thrust of the panel report.

They added that the white paper is an attempt to whitewash the truth.

#EndSARS: Lagos white paper an attempt to conceal the truth – YRC

“The white paper is a product of a so-called “formal committee” headed by the Attorney General of Lagos State. We think it is not only undemocratic but also an insult to the enormous sacrifices of the judicial panel of inquiry as well as host of witnesses, lawyers, security and medical experts and victims and in extension, many Nigerians who anxiously waited for the panel’s report for over one year for the Lagos State government, whose actions were a subject of the panel’s investigation, to constitute a secretive bureaucratic committee to cherry-pick the panel’s findings and recommendations.

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“It is not surprising that the language of the white paper is not so different from the dubious argument deployed by the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed and the Minister of State for Labour, Festus Keyamo, to discredit the panel report. In fact, the arguments canvassed in the white paper to discredit the key panel findings are borrowed straight from the “misinformation playbook” of Lai Mohammed who called the incident of October 20, 2020 “a massacre without bodies”. This shows to what extent the Lagos and Federal governments are working together towards the objective of ultimately covering up the truth.

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“On the basis of all the aforesaid, we hereby demand the full implementation of the recommendations of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry.

“As far as we are concerned, the continuous denial by both the state and federal government that a massacre or mass killing occurred at the Lekki tollgate despite the findings of the judicial panel of enquiry is ridiculous and outrageous.

“Why set up a panel of inquiry in the first place if its findings would be rejected? Apparently the state and federal government were hoping for a favorable outcome but only to be startled by the courage of the panel members in insisting on the truth.

“We demand the immediate prosecution of security personnel and all those found to have been responsible for maiming and killing unarmed protesters both on 20 October 2020 and during the entire #EndSARS protest. We also demand the immediate release of the #EndSARS protesters still unjustly detained across the country”.

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Extra-judicial killings in Obingwa: Abia lawmaker, Thomas Nkoro cries out

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Extra-judicial killings in Obingwa: Abia lawmaker, Thomas Nkoro cries out
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Extra-judicial killings in Obingwa: Abia lawmaker, Thomas Nkoro cries out

The member representing Obingwa West Constituency in the Abia State House of Assembly, Hon Thomas Nkoro, has cried out about the extra-judicial killings, harassment and extortion by men of the Nigeria Police in his constituency, especially by men of the force at Ohuru Isimiri police station.

Nkoro also narrated how one of his constituents and a young graduate, Mr. Ugochukwu Chinyere, was shot by men of the Nigeria Police in a fatal incident at their illegal checkpoint in Umukalika axis in Obingwa Local Government Area of the state.

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Speaking in an urgent matter of public importance on the floor of the Assembly at its plenary sponsored by him, on Wednesday, the Abia lawmaker said the slain Ugochukwu later lost his life in the hospital despite frantic efforts made to save him.

He said that motorists in his constituency now live in fear because none of them knows the uncertainty that might befall them from the hands of the trigger-happy policemen in their area.

Nkoro called the Commissioner of Police in Abia State to fish out the officers that committed the heinous crime.

According to him, “I want this honorable chamber to also advise policemen in the state to stop using live ammunition on innocent citizens.

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“The Commissioner of Police should expedite action by instructing his men to dismantle all illegal road blocks in the state”, Nkoro concluded.

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Kayode Dodges Fraud Trial In Court Using Fake Doctor’s Report – EFCC

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Kayode Dodges Fraud Trial In Court Using Fake Doctor’s Report - EFCC
Femi Fani Kayode
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Kayode Dodges Fraud Trial In Court Using Fake Doctor’s Report – EFCC

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has accused a former minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, of dodging court appearances with fake health reports.

Falz calls out Gov Sanwo-Olu, says there is no “March for peace” without justice
The former Minister of Aviation has been on trial since 2016 on a 17-count charge bordering on money laundering of over N4 billion.

With at least five recorded absences over the years, he has stalled the case on numerous occasions, claiming health issues, and was fined N200,000 when he failed to show up for an October hearing.

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Prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, told the court when the case resumed on Tuesday, Wednesday 30, 2021 that EFCC agents are investigating fresh fraud allegations against the defendant.

He said the investigations have shown that several letters Fani-Kayode claimed to have obtained from Kubwa General Hospital and presented to court at previous sittings as an excuse for his absence showed that they were all fake.

The 61-year-old was first questioned last week over what was reported to be allegations of fraud.

Kayode Dodges Fraud Trial In Court Using Fake Doctor’s Report – EFCC

He was with the agency for over six hours before he was granted bail on self-recognisance.

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The politician immediately posted on Twitter at the time that he wasn’t arrested but invited for a ‘friendly chat’.

He returned to the agency’s office on Tuesday and was similarly questioned for hours until he was released in the evening.

“Once again I was invited to the EFCC today. Once again, despite media reports, I was NOT arrested but invited. I got there at 11:00 am and I have just been released,” he posted on his Twitter account late on Tuesday.

The case, which has passed through three judges, was on Tuesday adjourned till January 24, 2022.

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