The Federal High Court in Lagos Friday heard that a former minister of state for defence, Musiliu Obanikoro allegedly struck a deal with the defunct Diamond Bank (now Access Bank) to take a N19 million commission for the delivery of N1.2 billion cash to former Ekiti State governor. Ayodele Fayose.
According to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the money was part of funds belonging to the Federal Government but was laundered by politicians.
A EFCC investigator, Mr Abubakar Madaki made the allegation before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke during the resumption of Fayose’s trial for alleged N4.6 billion fraud. Madaki testified as a prosecution witness while being led in evidence by EFCC counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN).
“These funds came from the coffers of the National Security Adviser’s imprest account in the build up to the Ekiti State governorship election in 2014,” Madaki said.
When asked how the N1.2 billion added up to N1.219 billion, the witness said: “My lord, as I have stated in my earlier testimony before this court that the then minister of state for defence Senator Musiliu Obanikoro had an agreement with Diamond Bank to deliver the sum of N1.2 billion cash to Mr Ayodele Fayose who was the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2014 with agreed N19m service charge.”
However, counsel to Fayose, Mr. Olalekan Ojo (SAN) objected that the witness was not there when any agreement was made, if such exist at all, therefore it was a hearsay evidence which was not admissible in law.
But Justice Aneke overruled the objection, saying it could be raised at the final written address stage.
“I want to hear the story; the witness in the dock is the investigating officer who carried out an investigation as to what transpired. Let this story flow, I want to hear the story. Objection overruled. Please go on witness,” he said.
Continuing, Madaki said: “My lord, our investigation revealed that the said agreement was executed and the money was delivered in cash to the first defendant (Fayose) through one A. Agbele which our investigation further revealed to be Abiodun Agbele, an associate of the first defendant in Akure via helicopter.
“Investigation revealed that Obanikoro’s fees were deducted from the beneficiaries because we invited some of the bureau de change operators that were used in the transaction and they did confirm that the N19 million was added to N1.2 billion which made it to be the total sum of 1.219bn.”
Justice Aneke adjourned further proceedings to the 26th of January 2024, for defence to cross examine the witness.
Abubakar Madaki is the 13th prosecution witness that has testified against Fayose.
Recall Fayose and his company were re-arraigned before Justice Aneke on 11 counts bordering on money laundering and non-declaration of assets, on November 24, 2021.
In the amended charge, Fayose and Agbele, who is also standing trial for money laundering offences before another division of the court, were alleged to have on June 17, 2014, taken possession of N1.219bn to fund the former’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 June 17, 2014, without going through financial institutions, received the sum of $5million from Obanikoro.
The EFCC also accused Fayose of retaining the sum of N300million in his fixed deposit account number 9013074033 domiciled in Zenith Bank Plc.
The former governor and Spotless Limited were also alleged to have between June 17 and August 4, 2014, taken control of the sum of N317m and deposited the same in Zenith Bank Plc account number 1010170969.
The EFCC further accused Fayose of spending N270m and N1.1bn to acquire properties on Plot 1504 Yedsema Street, Maitama, Abuja, from one Rabi Kundili, and chalets 3, 4, 6 and 9 on Plot 100 Tiyamiyu Savage Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, in the name of JJ Technical Services.
Fayose was also alleged to have between October 16 and December 31, 2018, failed to declare his assets and properties by not completing the declaration form during investigation.
According to the EFCC, the offences are 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.
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