Editor’s note: Femi Fani-Kayode has been invited by the EFCC on issues bordering on corruption. This invitation signifies the beginning of the former minister’s corruption case; one he knew was clearly coming.
The Yoruba are skilled with use of words. Ordinary expression can have a very different meaning depending on the circumstance. When a person’s name is called and the word ‘omo’ is sandwitched between the name and the surname, you have to listen. Omo means child and thus Femi omo Fani-Kayode simply means Femi the child of Fani-Kayode. While this may sound ordinary, its significance is for the person (in this case Femi Fani-Kayode) to listen keenly and pay attention for what will follow next should not be taken lightly.
The invitation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission asking Fani-Kayode to appear at the office of the anti-graft commission for an interview on Monday, May 9 may seem harmless but not to someone like Fani-Kayode. In fact the invitation is deadlier than a viper and if he was given the opportunity to choose between handling the invitation letter or a snake, Fani-Kayode would gladly go for the latter.
Former minister of aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode
An invitation by the EFCC to Fani-Kayode to come and discuss his role in the disbursement of the account of a private firm, Joint Trust Dimension Nigeria Limited spells doom. For someone as experienced as Fani-Kayode in the activities of the EFCC especially in the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, the omen is very bad.
READ ALSO: EFCC begin manhunt for Femi Fani Kayode
Fani-Kayode knew it was coming. He expected it and possibly anticipated it with a mixture of excitement and fear and he had every reason to be. The number of person invited and grilled by the EFCC under a year has seen the agency transform from a docile face-licking dog to a meat-eating canine. The lesson is clear from a similar invitation by the EFCC to Chief Olisa Metuh. From there, his new home became Kuje prison and his case is still on. It didn’t help matters that he appeared in court a day after he collapsed possibly under the weight of the trial.
A month ago, the EFCC was already rounding up its investigation on how money was squandered by the PDP from the national treasury during the 2015 general election. An EFCC investigator revealed that money was paid by the Central Bank Nigeria (CNB) into the account of the Ministry of External Affairs’ Library, from where it was moved into the account of a private firm, Joint Trust Dimension Nigeria Limited.
The investigator said the director of publicity of the organisation, Fani-Kayode, received N840m which was allegedly paid to him in three tranches.
EFCC men in front of Fan-Kayode’s house in Abuja
“Fani-Kayode was the chief beneficiary of the disbursement as he allegedly received a whooping N840m, paid in three tranches into his Zenith bank, Maitama branch account with number 1004735721.
“The first tranche of payment involving N350m hit the account on February 19, 2015. Another N250m was also paid into the account on February19, 2015 while N240m was similarly credited to the account a month later; precisely, March 19, 2015.
READ ALSO: EFCC operatives come for Fani-Kayode’s house
“The balance in this account as of December 31, 2015 was N189, 402.72,” the source explained.
At that time, Fani-Kayode must have known the noose was tightening and it was only a matter of time before the EFCC invited him for an interview.
Two weeks ago, Fani-Kayode published a long detailed explanation on how fund the received as the director of media of the President Goodluck Jonathan campaign were disbursed. In the article, he claimed he asked where the money was from and was told it was from money raised by supporters of Jonathan.
“I made a point of asking what the source of the funds in this account were and I was told by the Director of Finance that the funds were sourced from private individuals and private companies who opted to support and fund President Jonathan’s campaign.
“She told me that no money was paid into her company from any government official, account or agency. This she told me in the prescence of witnesses and I believed her. I was told that there was a fundraising event held by our party (PDP) which took place in early January 2015 in which billions of naira was raised specifically for the Presidential campaign.
Men of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
“I believed this to be true and I had no reason to doubt it. Our funds were given to us by the President who was the leader of our party through the Director of Finance of the PCO and we were not in a position to inquire into the sources of funding of the party’s campaign. Indeed, it was not our responsibility to do so.”
Fani-Kayode would have been shocked if the EFCC had not invited him for an interview and it will be fair to assume he is prepared for his defence. He has promised to honour the invitation of the EFCC but he is all too aware that the situation is a serious one.
Whether he is looking forward to Monday or wish it will take forever to come, the truth is that he is in a deep well. Fani-Kayode is a vocal critic of the Buhari administration and he has always pointed accusing finger at the ruling party of selective investigation and witch-hunting. Whether this is true or not is a discussion for another day but at the moment, Fani-Kayode joins a list of politicians whose activities has catches the fancy of the EFCC hence the need to have a table interview.
If the current administration is really investigating only PDP members, this is really bad but it does not rule out the question of whether those or being investigated are guilty of corruption and financial crime or not. The defence of “I am guilty but the other person is also guilty” is a lame one. It doesn’t make the former less guilty or more dignified than the latter. What it means is that you own time has come and hopefully, the other person’s time will come too.
Fani-Kayode is innocent until proven guilty but the road to proving his innocence is a long rough one and the journey officially begins on Monday.
Femi omo Fani-Kayode, the hour has finally come and the journey has started. Fill your vehicle with enough fuel and pack a lot of food and water. Do not forget to tighten your seat belt too. The journey has only just started…
This opinion was written by Omotayo Yusuf
This article expresses the authors’ opinion only. The views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Naij.com or its editors.
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