The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has informed a Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos, presided over by Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke, that a former minister of state for defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, handed over the sum of N1,219,000,000 in cash to former Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose.
This revelation came through the Commission’s witness and a former operative of the anti-graft agency, Abubakar Aliyu Madaki while testifying before the judge.
The former Ekiti governor alongside his firm, Spotless Investment Limited, is being prosecuted by the Commission for allegedly laundering N6.9 billion.
It would be recalled that Obanikoro had earlier hinted to the court how N1.2 billion was allegedly taken to former Gov Fayose using an aircraft.
Continuing in his evidence before Justice Aneke, Madaki, who is the 13th prosecution witness, revealed to the judge that out of the money, the former Ekiti State governor bought property worth N270m from one Rabiu Kundili in Abuja and also deposited in a fixed account the sum of N100m.
While being led in evidence by the counsel for the EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, the former operative of the EFCC argued that between the 17th and 27th of June 2014, a total sum of N150m cash deposit was lodged into the bank account of the 2nd defendant (Spotless Investment Limited), by one Biodun Agbele, an aide to the former Ekiti governor.
Madaki equally informed the court that on August 24, 2016, the sum of N168m was also deposited into
Spotless Investment Limited bank account
The witness maintained that the money was released from the imprest accounts in the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), adding that the imprest accounts were under the control of the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd).
Madaki further stated that the claim by the 1st defendant (Fayose) that the N1,219,000,000 received from the former minister of state for defence, Obanikoro, was the campaign funds from his political party, the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP) was investigated.
According to the witness, “In our investigation, we contacted the People’s Democratic Party secretariat in Abuja. The party denied receiving any money from the National Security Adviser, or the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation. The party also said it did not give any campaign money to Senator Musiliu Obanikoro to give to the first defendant.
“So the funds moved from Diamond Bank to Zenith Bank were the funds that came from the imprest account which is under the control of the office of the National Security Adviser to President Goodluck, Jonathan, Colonel Sambo Dasuki.”
The former operative insisted that an opportunity was given to the first defendant and his associate, Agbele, to explain the source of the huge sum of money deposited into the account of the 2nd defendant, but they could not give any reasonable reason. The matter has been adjourned until November 24 for continuation of the trial.
The Commission 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 former governor and his firm were first arraigned on October 22, 2018, before Justice Mojisola Olatoregun. They were later re-arraigned before Justice Aneke for alleged money laundering and non-declaration of their assets.
As contained in the amended charge, Fayose and one 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 N1.219bn to fund Fayose’s 2014 gubernatorial campaign in Ekiti State.
They were particularly accused of committing criminal breach of trust, theft, and stealing of public funds.
Fayose and his firm were also alleged to have on the same June 17, 2014, without going through financial institutions, received $5m from Senator Obanikoro, who was the Minister of State for Defence.
According to the EFCC, the offence is contrary to Sections 15 (2)(d); 1 and 16 (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended, and punishable under Section 15 (3) (4); 16 (2) (b) of the same Act.
But Fayose pleaded not guilty to the 11 counts charge.