A former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, on Wednesday, narrated to a Federal High Court in Abuja how N1.219bn cash was airlifted to support the election of a former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose.
According to him, the inability of a defunct bank, Diamond Bank, to handle huge amount of money prompted the airlifting of the money.
Fayose and Spotless Investment Limited are standing trial on 11 charges bordering on money laundering and stealing to the tune of N6.9 billion.
Led in evidence by the counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Wahab Shittu (SAN), Obanikoro explained that the money came from the former National Security Adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki (retd.), adding that only he could explain its source.
He added that he only got the information about the money from Dasuki, saying that it was the former NSA who told him that the said money had been paid 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.”
He also denied taking out the money as speculated in a report by an online media platform.
Obanikoro said, “When Mr. Fayose called, I told him I would call him later. I had a call conversation with the NSA and was told he would get back to me. After, he got back to me that N2.2 billion was paid into the account of Sylvan Mcnamara Lomited..
“The money came came from the NSA. Only the NSA can explain the source of the fund.
The bank lacked the capacity to handle the situation. It was a last-minute decision- to ferry the money to Ekiti.
“I handed over the cash to Agbele for onward delivery to Fayose. I did not take any money or N19 million, contrary to the publication by a Lagos-based online platform.”
When asked about his relationship with Sylvan Mcnamara Limited, Obanikoro said the account was initially opened to tackle terrorism in Lagos after which it was used to disburse funds for elections.
He said, “The account was created to deal with the issue of Boko Haram in Lagos, the account was created by Taiwo Kareem, and the account was used for the purpose of disbursing funds for election.
“I put a call through to let Fayose know that the money had been paid. Diamond Bank had said it did not have the capacity to make the funds available, so we opted to airlift the fund. The funds were airlifted from Lagos in two tranches, the volume was much.”
After listening to Obanikoro’s testimony, the presiding judge, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba adjourned the case till February 27, 2024.