By Mabel Yakubu
A Prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of Mr Femi Fani-Kayode on Tuesday told a Federal High Court, Abuja how he collected N26 million for the defendant from the NSA’s office.
Fani-Kayode is a former minister of Aviation.
Mr 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 (FCID) before he was deployed as Fani-Kayode’s security aide.
He explained that his schedule of duty includes providing security for the defendant’s household and his property.
Ehiabhi said that on Nov. 21, 2014, Francis called him on phone and told him that the defendant directed them to go to the NSA’s office at the villa.
He said that on reaching there as instructed, he was given a document to sign on behalf of the defendant who was absent.
“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.
He 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 EFCC, the witness said he was invited because he was the defendant’s security aide.
He said when he was invited to EFCC’s office, an official of the commission brought the document he signed at the NSA’s office on Nov. 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 absence 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.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 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, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) and using same for media campaign.
Fani-Kayode is also facing another 17-count charge of money laundering before the Lagos division of the court.