No Receipts for Alleged N1.2bn, $4m Given to Fayose, Obanikoro Tells Court
A former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro yesterday told a Federal High Court in Lagos, that he has no document to show for the withdrawal of N1.2 billion, he allegedly gave the former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose.
Obanikoro who is the 12th prosecution witness stated this during the ongoing trial of Fayose, and his company, Spotless Investment Limited, charged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged N6.9 billion fraud.
The former minister, had in his previous testimony before the court stated that the N1.2 billion was deposited into the account of a company, Sylva McNamara which was used to fund clandestine security operations aimed at preventing terrorists’ activities in Lagos State in two batches.
When the matter was called for continuation of trial, Rotimi Jacobs announced appearance for prosecution, Ola Olanipekun announced appearance for the first Defendant, Ayodele Fayose while Olalekan Ojo announced appearance for the second Defendant, Spotless Investment Limited.
During cross-examination by counsel to the second defendant, Ojo, Obanikoro told the court that during his several visits to the EFCC, he did not show EFCC’s operatives any document showing that he gave instruction or withdrew the sum of N1.2 billion from the Diamond bank account of Sylva McNamara Limited.
When reminded that in his earlier evidence, he had stated that he took over the control and management of Sylva McNamara account in Diamond Bank, the witness answered in the affirmative.
Asked if he produced any resolution of Board of Directors of Sylva McNamara authorising him to control the management of the account of the company, Obanikoro said, “No I didn’t produce any Board resolution or letter to the EFCC. Also there was no letter from Sylva McNamara to the defunct Diamond Bank, telling the bank that I was asked to control and manage the account.”
He also told the court that the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, had no interactions with the first Defendant or Diamond bank in respect of the N1.2 billion withdrew from the account of Sylva McNamara Limited.
Obanikoro who told the court that after various investigations, the EFCC exonerated him of any wrong doing, however admitted that he was made to refund between N100 million and N200 million to the federal government under duress.
He also told the court that he had instructed his lawyers, to write the EFCC for the return of the money he allegedly refunded under duress.
Asked if he has receipt of the $4 billion he allegedly gave to Fayose, Obanikoro said, “in our line of business it’s not customary to ask for receipt or acknowledgment of such money. So, there was no confirmation of the money.”
Justice Chukujekwu Aneke adjourned the matter till May 6, 9, and June 6, 8, 2023 respectively.
The EFCC, had, re-arraigned Fayose and Spotless Investment Limited on an 11-count charge bordering on money laundering and stealing to the tune of N6.9bn ( Six Billion Nine Hundred Naira).
The defendants had first been arraigned on October 22, 2018 before Justice Mojisola Olatoregun.
Fayose and his company were re-arraigned before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke for alleged money laundering and non-declaration of his assets.
In the amended charge, Fayose and one Abiodun Agbele, who is also standing trial on alleged money laundering offences before another division of the court, were alleged to have on June 17, 2014, taken possession of N1.219 billion to fund Fayose’s 2014 gubernatorial campaign in Ekiti State.
They were accused of committing criminal breach of trust, theft and stealing of public funds.
They were also alleged to have on the same June 17, 2014, without going through financial institutions, received $5 million from Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, who was the Minister of State for Defence.