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Former Minister, Obanikoro Narrates How Ex-Ekiti Governor Fayose Allegedly Took N1.2billion Cash For Elections

February 1, 2023

Fayose is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for alleged fraud and money laundering.

A former Minister of State for Defence, Mr Musiliu Obanikoro, on Tuesday, narrated before a Federal High Court in Lagos State how N1.2 billion cash was allegedly taken to former Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State, using an aircraft.

Fayose is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for alleged fraud and money laundering.

SaharaReporters had in 2014 first reported the story about the movements of humongous cash under the then corruption-ridden President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.

Obanikoro, who is not testifying before a court in Lagos, had sued the newspaper in the United States and in Nigeria over the story but the case was dismissed in the US after which Obanikoro was arrested upon return from exile. 

SaharaReporters had in November 2018 also reported that a prosecution witness told the same court that three aircraft flew N1.2billion from Lagos to Ekiti State for delivery to the former Governor, Fayose.

Danmola Otuyena, a banker, was testifying in Fayose’s trial for allegedly receiving and keeping N1.2billion and $5million said to have been stolen from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), contrary to the Money Laundering Act.

Otuyena, who headed his bank’s Cash in Transit Services Unit when the transaction occurred, said he accompanied the bullion van that took the cash to the airport.

He was the fourth prosecution witness and was led in evidence by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) lawyer, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN).

Fayose was first arraigned on October 22, 2018, before Justice Mojisola Olatotegun alongside his company, Spotless Investment Ltd on 11 counts.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges and was granted bail on October 24, 2018, in the sum of N50 million with sureties in like sum.

The defendant was, however, re-arraigned before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke on July 2, 2019, after the case was withdrawn from Justice Olatoregun following EFCC’s petition.

Fayose also pleaded not guilty to the charges, and was allowed to continue on the bail earlier granted.

The EFCC has since opened its case before Justice Aneke and is still leading witnesses in evidence.

He further told the court that he had received a call from Fayose, who was  then a governorship candidate in Ekiti, asking if he had received any money from the Office of the NSA.

The witness told the court that he replied, `No’, and promised to get back to the defendant if the money arrived.

He said that when the money eventually dropped, he informed the defendant and asked how he wanted it sent.

According to PUNCH, Obanikoro testified that Fayose indicated that part of it should be in dollars and the other in Naira.

The witness told the court that he then called Ado-Ekiti to find out from a bank if it  had the the amount  but was informed that the branch did not have.

He told the court that since elections were fast approaching at the time, he had to take the money by aircraft from Lagos.

He said that the money was carried  in two batches.