AYODELE FAYOSE: OBANIKORO ADMITS RELUCTANCE TO TESTIFY

Read previous post on case here.

Former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro continued his testimony in the criminal charge against former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose today the Federal High Court in Lagos. Mr. Fayose and his company, Spotless Limited are facing an eleven-count charge of money laundering. 

Obanikoro who is the prosecution’s fifth and star witness had testified in chief on the 21stof January 2019 and was today cross-examined by lawyers representing the two defendants. While being cross-examined by Kanu Agabi SAN who is counsel representing Fayose in the charge, Obanikoro stated that he was in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) when he made his first statement and that he was a suspect under investigation. He stated that he was being investigated in respect of funds disbursed through the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) and was kept in custody by the Commission for twenty one days. He testified that the investigation was a product of a petition written to the EFCC by the office of the NSA. When asked why the NSA would petition the EFCC when he (Obanikoro) had claimed that the money was disbursed on the instructions of the NSA in his examination in chief, Obanikoro stated that it was the current NSA that petitioned the EFCC and not the former NSA from whom he had received the instructions. He stated that the petition complained, among other things, that he had through, the McNamara account, collected funds from the office of the NSA in respect of which no contract was executed. 

He stated that none of his properties were confiscated and admitted that he undertook to make certain refunds to the EFCC. He reiterated that the McNamara account was sourced to deal with a security challenge in Lagos. He testified that account belonged to a Kareem Taiwo. He further stated that other than the supervisory role he played over the account of the company when money was paid into it to deal with the security challenge in Lagos in 2014, he played no other role in the company. He was however confronted with the first two payments ever made into the account of the company in 2012. The first payment was made by his son, Gbolahan Obanikoro in the sum of N50, 000 and the second payment was made by himself in the sum of N5 million. He stated that the transactions were too long ago and he couldn’t recall what the payments were made for.

He was also confronted with the documentation in respect of the account in 2013 which shows the sole signatory as one Olalekan Ogunseye. He stated that he does not know any such person and that the account was not under his control in 2013. He began to exercise supervisory control over the account when the company became a security outfit for the NSA between 2014 and 2015.

Mr. Obanikoro was also confronted with some transfers he did from the sum paid into the account from the office of the NSA including transfers to one Rehoboth Homes, AAGBS Oil and Gas, Capital Field, Northline Company and some individuals as well as several unidentified identities. Mr. Obanikoro explained that these transfers must have been for the purpose of sourcing for foreign currency (dollars), which he eventually gave to Fayose.

While being cross-examined by Mr. Olalekan Ojo SAN, lawyer representing Fayose’s company, Spotless Limited, Mr. Obanikoro stated he agreed to refund N200 million to EFCC but stated that the act was not an admission of wrong doing. He stated that the agreement to refund the said sum was a reluctant one.

He testified that after he gave Fayose the money, he stayed in Ado-Ekiti for a few days in pursuance of his (Fayose’s) gubernatorial ambition. He admitted that it is quite painful for him to testify against Fayose and that he is exercising restrain so that he would not say things that would further damage their relationship.

The charge continues tomorrow and the cross-examination of Obanikoro will likely be completed.

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