Today, EFCC called former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro to testify in the trial of forner Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose who was accused of money laundering to the tune of N6.9 billion.
At Monday’s proceedings, EFCC prosecutor, Rotimi Jacobs called the fifth prosecution witness, (Obanikoro), to give his evidence. Leading the witness in his chief evidence, Jacobs asked him “where were you in 2014?” To which the witness told the court that at the time, he was the Minister of State for Defence.
The prosecutor then asked the witness to tell the court what he knows in relation to the instant case. Obanikoro then told the court that in June 2014, close to the Ekiti State governorship election, he received a call from Fayose, enquiring from him, if there was any message for him, from the then National Security Adviser, (NSA) Col. Sambo Dasuki.
The witness said that he had replied that there was none, but had promised to check with the NSA and revert back, adding that eventually, the NSA confirmed to him that he had a “message” for the accused and that the funds will be made available. He said that he then enquired from the former Governor how he wanted the money, and he was informed that some amount should be sent in Naira while the others sent in dollars.
According to him, the money was eventually brought in a bullion van to the private wing of the Ikeja Airport, where one Agbele sent by the accused, was already on standby, adding that after confirmation from the accused, the money was taken to Ekiti State. The witness told the court that afterwards, he went to Ado-Ekiti to meet the accused in his Hotel known as Spotless, and there, he handed him the dollar content which totalled five million dollars.
Obanikoro then said that he gave Fayose the money three days to the Ekiti State governorship election. When Jacobs asked Obanikoro if he knew the source of the money, Obanikoro replied: “The NSA is the only person that can ascertain the source of the money; it is from the impress account of the NSA” He further told the court that he gave instructions to the MD of Diamond Bank to make the money available in naira denomination.
When asked his connection with the accounts, Obanikoro replied that it was used for security purposes, adding that he does not wish to divulge further evidences on that. The presiding judge, Justice Mojisola Olatoregun thereafter adjourned the natter till February 4, 5 and 6 for cross examination.
Fayose and Agbele were said to have taken possession of the sum of N1.2 billion, for purposes of funding his gubernatorial election campaign in Ekiti State. Fayose was alleged to have received a cash payment of the sum of five million dollars, (about N1.8 billion) from the then Minister of State for Defence, Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro, without going through any financial institution and which sum exceeded the amount allowed by law.
He was also alleged to have retained the sum of N300 million in his Zenith Bank account and took control of the aggregate sums of about N622 million which sum he ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds. The accused was also alleged to have used the sum of N200 million, to acquire a property in Abuja, in the name of his elder sister Moji Oladeji, which sum he ought to know also forms crime proceeds. The offences contravenes the provisions of sections 15(1), 15 (2), 15 (3), 16(2)(b), 16 (d), and 18 (c) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011.
Fayose was arraigned by EFCC on Octover 22, 2018, alongside a company Spotless Investment Limited, on 11 counts. He, had pleaded not guilty to the charges, and the court had granted him bail in the sum of N50 million with one surety in like sum.