A prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose yesterday narrated to a Federal High Court in Lagos how former minister of state for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, took delivery of N1.2 billion from Diamond Bank.
The witness, Damola Otuyena an employee of Diamond Bank, told the trial judge, Justice Mojisola Olatoregun that the money was moved from the bank to the airport.
Otuyena, who told the court that he heads a department in the bank known as ‘ Cash In Transit’ also claimed that he was instructed by one of the bank’s directors, Premier Ohuwoh to pay the said cash to six beneficiaries.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had Arraigned Fayose before the court alongside his company, Spotless Limited and one Abiodun Agbele money laundering and fraud.
Fayose, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The witness, who was being led in evidence by the EFCC prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs said, “When we got to the airport, we could not gain access and I called my boss, he said someone was coming to meet us.
“Few minutes later, one Gbolahan Obanikoro came and helped us process our pass into the airport.
“Afterwards, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro came, my boss called me again and told me he was to be given the cash,” he said.
Otuyena further testified that the cash was packed in the bank’s biggest cash bag known as ‘jumbo bags’ and Ghana must go bags.
He claimed, “We loaded the money in three different aircrafts at the private wing of the airport while Obanikoro signed for the collection of the money, in line with our banking procedure.
While being cross-examined by the defence counsel, Kanu Agabi (SAN) and Olalekan Ojo (SAN), the witness said the identity of the six beneficiaries meant to be paid the cash were not made available to his department.
He further told the court that he is not aware of any resolution that says Obanikoro owns the account.
When asked what happened to the money after it was handed over to Obanikoro, he told the court that he do not know what became of the said cash.
Earlier at the resume of the proceedings, the prosecution had called another witness from Diamond bank, Olaitan Fajuyitan, also narrated his involvement in the transaction.
Under cross-examination, he said the payment was automated by CBN and Diamond bank won’t do any transaction that is not legitimate.
The first prosecution witness, Mr Lawrence Akande, a banker in a commercial bank in charge of South West 1, comprising Ogun, Oyo and Osun States also told the court that in June 2014, he was called by one Abiodun Agbele, who informed him that he had about N1.2 billion cash lodgement to make in Akure.
He told the court that afterwards, he also received a call from Fayose on the same issue, adding that since the lodgement was in Akure, he placed a call across to his colleague in Akure to follow up same.
“This is all I know on this issue,” he said
When asked if he knew the second accused, (Spotless Ltd), he replied that the company is a customer of his bank with account at Dugbe branch.
The prosecutor then showed the witness some account opening document of Spotless Nig. Ltd, De Privateer Ltd, Still Earth Ltd as well as account document of first accused.
The witness confirmed the document and they were admitted by the court and marked exhibit A.
When asked where the account of Fayose was domiciled, the witness replied ” It is not domiciled within my domain but from the document before me here I can see Apapa.”