The former Ekiti state governor, Ayo Fayose, is facing trial for his alleged involvement in N6.9 billion money laundering by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Newsflash Nigeria reports that one of the key witnesses in the case is Musiliu Obanikoro, a former minister of state for defence, who revealed how he delivered N1.219 billion cash to Fayose in 2014.
Obanikoro, who testified as an EFCC witness on Wednesday, said that he received the money from the former national security adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki, who instructed him to give it to Fayose.
He said that the money was part of N2.2 billion that was paid into the account of Sylvan Mcnamara Ltd, a company that he claimed was created to deal with the issue of Boko Haram in Lagos.
Obanikoro said that he did not know the source of the funds, and that only the NSA could explain it. He also denied taking any money or N19 million from the cash, as alleged by a Lagos-based online platform.
He narrated how he airlifted the money from Lagos to Ekiti in two tranches, using two aircraft, because the volume was too much. He said that he was accompanied by his ADC, his security orderly, and a top aide of Fayose, to meet Abiodun Agbele, the bank manager who received the money. He said that he instructed his orderly to escort Agbele and ensure the safe delivery of the money to Fayose.
He said that he called Fayose to inform him that the money had been paid, and that he was acting on his directive. He said that the money was meant for the election activities in Ekiti state in 2014, when he was the coordinator of the campaign.
“I was a minister under Jonathan’s administration in 2014. Sometime in 2014, we were going to have an election in Ekiti State. I was saddled with the responsibility of coordinating the activities in the election.
“Some days before the election, I got a call from governor Fayose asking me if I received any message for him from ONSA, I can recall that prior to that, we had some activities among which was fundraising for the purpose of that election.
“When Mr. Fayose called, I told him I would call him later. I had a phone conversation with the NSA and was told he would get back to me. After, he got back to me that N2.2 billion was paid into the account of Sylvan Mcnamara Ltd.”
The former minister said he did not know the source of the funds, adding that “only the NSA can explain the source of the fund”.
“I handed over the N1.219 million cash to Agbele for onward delivery to Fayose. I did not take any money or N19 million, contrary to a publication by a Lagos-based online platform,” he said.
When asked about his relationship with Sylvan Mcnamara Ltd, the former minister stated that “the account was created to deal with the issue of Boko Haram in Lagos”.
“The account was created by Taiwo Kareem and was used for the purpose of disbursing funds for election.
“I put a call through to let Fayose know that the money had been paid.
“Diamond Bank had said it did not have the capacity to make the funds available, so we opted to airlift the funds. The funds were airlifted from Lagos in two tranches, the volume was much.
“Myself, my ADC and my security orderly were there, including a top aide of Fayose to meet Mr. Agbele, the bank manager. I instructed my orderly to escort Mr Agbele and ensure the safe delivery of the money.
“We airlifted the funds from Lagos in two tranches because the aircraft could not accommodate the funds. We used two aircraft and I was in one of the aircraft,” he added.
The presiding judge, Nnamdi Dimgba, adjourned the matter to February 27, 2024 for continuation of trial.