Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia of a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos was on Wednesday, May 14, 2014 told that a prosecution witness in the trial of a former Minister of Aviation, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode was hostile and should be pronounced so by the court.
Counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Festus Keyamo, told the court that, the witness, Mr. Ojo Agbor was hostile to him and gave contradictory testimony in court.
At the resumed hearing of the case on Wednesday, Keyamo presented Agbor before the court as a prosecution witness. Initially, Agbor told the EFCC that, Fani-Kayode, at various times, instructed him to deposit a total sum of N3, 600,000(Three Million, Six Hundred Thousand Naira only) into his account with First Inland Bank. This was contained in a statement he made at the EFCC while he was arrested for interrogation. However, in his testimony before the court on Wednesday, he denied making such a statement.
According to him, he deposited N600,000( Six Hundred Thousand Naira only) into the former minister’s account on August 2, 2006, on the instruction of a property manager, Mr Kayode, who sent him to pay in the money as rent due. And on August 24, 2006, Agbor said he deposited N3millon (Three Million Naira only) into the account of the accused.
Faced with the contradictory testimony of Agbor, Keyamo prayed the court to treat the witness as hostile. “This witness has been running away since; he was difficult to find. We had to write his director to produce him this morning” he said. Keyamo also told the court that Agbor refused to do a pre-trial with him before the court proceedings commenced.
To substantiate a claim of hostility of the witness, Keyamo tendered Agbor’s statement he made while in the custody of the EFCC, where he stated that all the money was given to him by Fani-Kayode. But, in spite of all the evidences presented by Keyamo, Agbor insisted that he made his statements at the EFCC’s office under duress. However, Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia granted the prayer of prosecution on hostility of witness.
Keyamo presented another witness before the court. The witness, Mr. Olasupo Agbaje told the court that, he deposited a total sum of N3, 712,000(Three Million, Seven Hundred and Twelve Thousand Naira only) into Fani-Kayode’s account.
The breakdown showed that: N1million was deposited into Fani-Kayode’s account by Agbaje on September 29, 2006 at former First Inland Bank; another N1.1million was deposited on September 20, 2006; N861, 000(Eight Hundred and Sixty One Thousand Naira only) was deposited into the account on August 15, 2006 and N751, 000(Seven Hundred and Fifty One Thousand Naira only) on August 21, 2006.
However, when Mr. Ifedayo Adedipe, SAN, counsel to Fani-Kayode cross-examined him on the lodgements into the former minister’s account, he denied what he earlier told the court. “I cannot recall that I told EFCC that I collected N1million or N1.1million from the accused person”, he said.
Femi Fani Kayode was alleged to have accepted cash payments in the tune of N100 million, while he held sway as Minister of Aviation and Minister of Culture and Tourism respectively.
Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia adjourned the matter till June 23 & 24, 2014, for continuation of trial.
Media & Publicity
14th May, 2014