The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has written a letter to a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, and a media aide to Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State, Lere Olayinka, asking that they pay him a combined sum of N2 billion for alleging that he owns the N13 billion seized by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Ikoyi, Lagos.
The letters written by counsel to Amaechi, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), on April 14, 2017, said Fani-Kayode and Olayinka defamed his client.
Fagbemi is demanding N500m from Fani-Kayode as compensation for alleging on Twitter on April 14 that Amaechi owns the recovered money.
Similarly, Mr Fagbemi is also asking Olayinka to pay N750 million each for a post on Facebook and another one on Twitter on April 14.
In his letter to Fani-Kayode, Fagbemi said it was wrong for the former minister to assume that Amaechi owned the flat and the money found in it.
According to Fagbemi, as a lawyer, Fani-Kayode knows that he should get the detail of the owner of the flat from the Lagos State Land Registry.
Fagbemi said Fani-Kayode had claimed through his Twitter handle that “The $43m is Rotimi Amaechi’s. He owns the flat (where) it was found in too (sic.). NIA story is fake news. NIA does not keep cash in minister’s flats.”
He said the post was a lie and that it was aimed at challenging the integrity of his client, who he described as a two-term speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly and a two-term governor of the same state.
Fagbemi said Amaechi neither owned the flat where the money was found nor owned the cash as well, the Punch reports.
“Your twitter rant of 14/04/2014 at 04.16 was viewed by your 316,000 followers, re-tweeted 1,209 times and made a favourite by 434 followers as of the time of writing this letter today at 7.15pm and the list is increasing by the minute and same has satisfied all the conditions needed for a successful defamation case against you.
The lawyer gave Fani-Kayode a seven-day ultimatum to tender an apology carried by five national dailies to Amaechi.
Fagbemi added that Fani-Kayode should pay his client N500m damages as “compensation for the malicious and defamatory claim.” He threatened to sue the minister if the demands were not met within seven days.
Meanwhile, sources in the EFCC said the commission is interrogating a former governor and some occupants of the estate where the money was found for their possible role in moving the money to the location, the Nation reports.
This is as the newspaper also claimed that the controversial flat 7B was registered to the National Intelligence Agency (NIA). The NIA had earlier claimed that the money belonged to it.