by Dolapo Adelana
The former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, has said allegations levelled against him by the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, over a two billion naira transferred by the former governor of Rivers state, Dr. Peter Odili to the Ministry of Aviation to fix Port-Harcourt runway were baseless.
He made this known in a chat on Channels Television on Saturday.
According to him, “This is an absurd allegation, first and foremost I wasn’t given any money by the Rivers state government, it was my predecessor in the office that was given a loan by the Rivers state government and the money was not paid to Aviation, it was paid to FAAN.
“It was a loan from the Rivers state government to FAAN as I understand it, the amount was two billion naira.
“Professor Borisade was the minister then not me and the money wasn’t paid to the ministry it was paid to FAAN’s account and that is number one. Secondly when the money was paid to FAAN, FAAN spent about three hundred and fifty million naira out of it before I even became a Minister, that is Borisade authorised that expenditure on the Port Harcourt runaway.
“However, by the time I got into office there was 1.6b naira of that money left in the FAAN account, they told me about it and what did we do with the money. We gave Julius Berger and they are still alive, 1.5b naira out of that money it’s in my record, we paid them the money and they did the work, that was fifty percent payment option for the airport runaway.”
The former minister added, “The airport runaway was completed before we left office, it was commissioned about a month after we left office by Diezani Alison Madueke, my successor and we left a hundred and thirty-two million naira in the FAAN account for my successor who was then Diezani, the records are there.”
Reacting to Amaechi’s allegations that there was no evident of payment made to the ministry of Aviation, Fani-Kayode said, “It’s quite possible that he hasn’t accepted or recognised the fact that no money was paid to the ministry by Rivers state government, Dr. Odili is still alive, they should ask him, the money was paid to FAAN.”
When asked if it was among the allegations he faced with the EFCC, he said, “Every aspect of my tenure in office, throughout the time when we left that is about a year or two before I was prosecuted for seven years this was investigated not just by EFCC, if you remember there was a public hearing by the senate and I have to come up with all the facts and figures, my predecessoring officer was there, my successoring officer, everybody was there, and we all accounted for everything we did.
“Every penny I was given as the Minister of Aviation, I was given eleven billion naira for various projects I spent 3.8b naira and I accounted for every penny and I left 7.2b naira in the ministry’s account from the intervention fund for my successor in office.”
On the controversy surrounding the N7.2bn, Fani-Kayode said, “It was controversial then because of the kind of absurd allegations people like Rotimi Amaechi labels me and at the end of the day there was absolutely nothing.
“What they prosecuted me for, we went in for seven years I was eventually acquitted, it has nothing to do with the Aviation, he said.“If you remember all charges against me from the intervention fund was thrown out, I wasn’t prosecuted for anything to do with the Aviation.
Fani-Kayode said he is going to sue the former Rivers governor for denigrating his personality and bringing his integrity to doubt.
“I am going to sue him, what he has said made no sense it is nonsensical, it is reflecting his diseased mind like I said earlier and am waiting for him, he will hear from my lawyers as early as Tuesday next week”.
Dolapo is a writer and journalist who works with YNaija. He has interests in Christianity, politics and sports.