A former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, has testified in a Federal High Court in Abuja, detailing how N1.219 billion in cash was airlifted to support the election of a former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose.
Obanikoro, who appeared as a witness for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), was led in evidence by the counsel for the Commission, Wahab Shittu (SAN). He stated that the money was sourced from the office of the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki. He explained that the funds were airlifted due to the inability of a defunct bank, Diamond Bank, to handle such a large sum of cash.
Fayose and his company, Spotless Investment Limited, are currently on trial for alleged money laundering and stealing to the tune of N6.9 billion. Obanikoro’s testimony sheds light on the origin of some of the funds allegedly involved in the case.
According to Obanikoro, he was contacted by Fayose, who inquired about a message from the NSA’s office. Obanikoro subsequently contacted Dasuki, who informed him that N2.2 billion had been deposited into the account of Sylvan Mcnamara Limited.
Obanikoro said, “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 Gov. 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 that election.”
Obanikoro further stated that he instructed an associate, Agbele, to deliver the cash to Fayose in Ekiti State. He denied taking any part of the money for himself, contradicting a previous online publication.
Obanikoro revealed that the Sylvan Mcnamara Limited account was initially opened to address terrorism concerns in Lagos but was later used for election funding. He explained that the account was created by Taiwo Kareem and served as a means to disburse election funds.
Due to Diamond Bank’s inability to handle the large cash sum, the funds were airlifted from Lagos to Ekiti State in two tranches.
The presiding judge, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, adjourned the case until February 27, 2024, for further proceedings.