Alleged $5m Money Laundering: Obanikoro Ends Testimony, EFCC Calls 6th Witness

You’ll Be ‘Sent To Jail’ If You Don’t Appear, Judge Warns Obanikoro
A file photo of Senator Musuliu Obanikoro

 

24 hours after admitting in evidence the statement of the late Justin Erukaa, the Personal Assistant to Sen Musiliu Obanikoro, a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has heard the testimony of the former Minister of State for Defence, on how Erukaa died.

Senator Obanikoro said: “Erukaa left Lagos a day before Sallah about two years ago, and the police called one of my Special Assistants that the owner of the phone just had a motor accident and died on the spot and he immediately called me and informed me.”

Obanikoro also said that he and his family attended the burial of the late Erukaa.

In an earlier testimony before the court, Obanikoro had said that he sent Erukaa on errands, including an errand to collect over $1million and that Erukaa came to meet him in Ekiti.

Read Also: Alleged $5m Money Laundering: Court Admits Statements Of Late Aide To Obanikoro

The court had admitted in evidence the statement made by the late Erukaa before his death.

The monies in issue in the case were said to have originated from the Office of the former National Security Adviser (ONSA) for the purpose of prosecuting the Ekiti State Elections.

Obanikoro, however, reiterated his earlier testimony that he was not privy to any discussion between Former Governor Ayodele Fayose and the former NSA.

Mr Fayose alongside a company, Spotless Investment Ltd is on trial for allegedly receiving and keeping N1.2billion and $5million allegedly stolen from the Office of National Security Adviser (ONSA) contrary to the Money Laundering Act.

He had, however, pleaded not guilty when he was arraigned on 11 counts in October 22, 2018.

In November 2018, the EFCC opened the case for the prosecution and subsequently called four witnesses.

In January 2018, the EFCC called Obanikoro as its fifth witness.

After his cross-examination ended today (Tuesday), Obanikoro stepped down from the witness box and subsequently the EFCC called its 6th witness, a banker, Mr Olugboyega Falae.

The EFCC had alleged that Fayose acquired a N200m property in Maitama, Abuja in the name of his elder sister, Moji Oladeji.

Falae, who works with Ecobank Nigeria, said he was a staff of Skye Bank (now Polaris Bank) when the transaction occurred.

The court admitted in evidence some of the documents involved in that transaction before adjourning until Wednesday (tomorrow) for continuation of the trial.

Funds Received From NSA Are Not Illicit, Obanikoro Tells Court

Funds Received From NSA Are Not Illicit, Obanikoro Tells Court

 

A former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, has told a Federal High Court in Lagos that the sum of N4.7bn which he received from the office of the former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki, cannot be described as illicit funds.

Senator Obanikoro also said that he was bothered that clandestine operations of the National Security Adviser (NSA) were described as illicit.

He made the statements on Tuesday while continuing his testimony as the fifth prosecution witness in the case against the former Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose.

Under cross-examination, the former minister who was testifying as a witness of the Federal Government shed more light on the funds he received from the then NSA.

He informed the court that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) investigated him for being privy to illicit transfer of funds.

Obanikoro, however, described the functions of NSA to include the coordination of all security agencies in the country.

He explained that some of their operations were clandestine and not usually documented as happened in the instant case.

On the allegations against him, the former minister said he has yet to be exonerated, noting that he still reports to the EFCC from time to time despite being granted an administrative bail.

READ ALSOExtradition Proceedings: Improper Service Stalls Hearing Of Kashamu’s Suit

Senator Obanikoro who was once served as a Commissioner in Lagos State also told the court that while discharging some of the functions of his office, he had cause to interface with various security agencies, one of which was Silva Mcnamara, said to be owned by a security operative, Kareem Taiwo.

He said that the outfit performed creditably well and this was why he recommended it to then NSA.

The former minister added that after the company agreed to work with the NSA for security purposes, he was saddled with supervising the government funds in the accounts of the company.

It was this account that housed the sum of N4.7 billion, out of which Obanikoro said the office of the NSA instructed him to handover N1.2 billion to Mr Fayose for the purpose of funding his governorship campaign back in 2014.

The former governor is on trial for allegedly receiving and keeping the N1.2billion and another $5million.

The EFCC said the monies were proceeds of unlawful activities and constituted an offence contrary to the Money Laundering Act.

Mr Fayose, had, however, pleaded not guilty.

The trial is expected to continue on Wednesday.

Alleged Fraud: It’s Painful To Testify Against Fayose, Says Obanikoro

Alleged N6.9bn Fraud: It’s Painful To Testify Against Fayose, Says Obanikoro

 

A former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, says it is painful and tough for him to testify against his friend and former Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose.

Senator Obanikoro said this while testifying in an alleged fraud case brought against Fayose before Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of a Federal High Court in Lagos.

“I am trying to restrain myself from saying things that will further damage my relation with him,” he said on testifying against Fayose.

The former minister added, “It’s very painful for me to give evidence against him, no doubt about that.”

Under cross-examination by the defence counsel, Olalekan Ojo, Obanikoro admitted that he had returned N200million to the Federal Government.

He admitted that it was part of funds received from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) during the governorship election in Ekiti in 2014.

Read the charges filed against the former governor below;

Alleged Fraud: Obanikoro Testifies, Says He Gave $5m To Fayose

Musiliu Obanikoro                                                                               Ayodele Fayose

 

 

A former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, has testified that he was directed to pay money from public funds to former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose.

According to him, he paid the sum of $5 million to Fayose from the national security funds.

“A total equivalent of $5 million from National Security Adviser impress account was given to Fayose by the order of NSA,” he said when he appeared before the Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday.

Subsequently, the counsel to Mr Fayose, Kanu Agabi (SAN), applied for an adjournment to enable him to cross-examine Mr Obanikoro.

He said he would need more time to look through his statements before cross-examining the witness.

The counsel to the 2nd defendant, Olalekan Ojo, also urged the judge to adjourn the case to enable him to confer with his client on the evidence of the witness.

Subsequently, the presiding judge, Mojisola Olatoregun, adjourned the case to February 4,5 and 6, 2019.

Read Also: Witness Testifies Against Fayose As Trial Continues

Fayose and his company, Spotless, are facing 11 charges of conspiracy and money laundering.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had also accused Fayose of benefitting from the five billion dollars slush funds allocated to the office of National Security Adviser by the Goodluck Jonathan administration.

Justice Mojisola Olatoregun had on October 24, granted bail to the former Governor to the tune of N50 million with two sureties who must issue a N50 million bond in a reputable bank as well as possess three years tax clearance.

She had also directed that the former governor deposits his international passport with the court.

Obanikoro To Officially Defects To APC

Musiliu Obanikoro, EFCC, Ekiti election, Obanikoro

A Former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro has said he will be officially defecting to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The politician confirmed this to Channels Television on Thursday, noting that he would be declaring his defection in Lagos at the weekend.

While he is yet to clearly state reasons for his defection, reports say Mr Obanikoro has been seen recently at gatherings of APC chieftains.

Obanikoro was a minister under the Goodluck Jonathan administration and was in the running for the Lagos state governorship seat in 2015 but lost the ticket to Jimi Agbaje.

EFCC Releases Reuben Abati From Custody

ObasanjoThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) has released former Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Mr Reuben Abati

Mr. Abati was released on Saturday morning.

It was reported that Mr Reuben Abati, was in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

He was spotted at the EFCC premises on October 24, 2016

Abati’s detention may not be unconnected to the anti-corruption campaign of the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration which has intensified with a clampdown on some public officials from the previous administration.

He has not been named in any of the ongoing corruption cases.

The former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Bala Mohammed, has also been arrested by the anti-graft agency.

Mr Mohammed was arrested at the airport on arrival in the country.

EFCC Releases Obanikoro

Musiliu Obanikoro, EFCC, Ekiti election, ObanikoroThe former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, has been released from the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

He was released about on Friday evening, after fulfilling his bail condition which include providing two federal directors as sureties and depositing his Nigerian and American passports at the EFCC.

Senator Obanikoro last week paid the sum of 100.4 million naira to the federal government as part payment for the sum of 480 million naira he allegedly collected from the former national Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki.

Obanikoro reported to the EFCC three months after his invitation by the anti-graft agency. He reported at an EFCC facility directly on his arrival from the United States.

He has since been in their custody while his lawyers worked assiduously to secure his release.

Mr Obanikoro has been in the United States since 2015 after the general elections, where he said he was pursuing leadership and language courses at an American university.

The 2015 election saw his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), unseated at the centre.

Obanikoro Returns 100 Million Naira To F.G

Musiliu Obanikoro, EFCC, Ekiti election, ObanikoroThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has said a former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, has returned the sum of 100 million Naira to the Nigerian Government.

Spokesperson of the anti-graft agency, Wilson Uwujaren, on Thursday confirmed the payment to Channels Television.

He said the EFCC chairman, Ibrahim Magu, rejected the initial offer and demanded that the former Minister signed an undertaking to pay back the sum of 600 million Naira within a stipulated time.

But the former Minister rejected, claiming he had no means of raising such amount.

In the meantime, the EFCC has begun the verification of  payments as interrogations continue.

Obanikoro Reports To EFCC

Three months after his invitation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), a former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, has reported to the anti-graft agency.

Senator Obanikoro returned to the country on Monday from the U.S. and later proceeded to an EFCC facility.

The former minister who also represented Lagos state in the Senate, had been a subject of interest to the commission in connection with alleged diversion of arms funds.

He has been accused of involvement in corrupt practices, as the anti-corruption campaign of the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration intensified with a clampdown on some public officials from the previous administration.

The EFCC has said that it has proof that Obanikoro received a total of 4.745 billion Naira from the office of the former National Security Adviser between April 4, 2014, and December 15, 2014 through companies belonging to his sons.

Mr Obanikoro has been in the United States since 2015 after the general elections, where he said he was pursuing leadership and language courses at an American university.

The 2015 election saw his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), unseated at the centre.

Lawyers Working Hard To Secure Obanikoro’s Release, Says Aide

obanikoroFormer Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, may regain freedom soon from the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), his spokesman says.

Mr Jonathan Eze said on Tuesday that Mr Obanikoro’s lawyers were working assiduously to secure his release.

Mr Obanikoro had reported at the anti-graft agency’s office in Lagos on Monday, where he was being interrogated over alleged graft crimes.

His spokesman said in a statement that his principal was well and that the officials of the EFCC were cooperative.

Eze said the agency was conducting its interrogations decently without any form of intimidation and harassment.

He urged the supporters of the embattled former Minister to be patient, noting that the counsels are working tirelessly to secure his release.

The statement reads in parts: “Senator Musiliu Obanikoro is still in the custody of the EFCC, but I can confirm to you that he is strong and well.

“The EFCC officials are doing their job and as at this moment, we don’t have any reason to complain.

“We are optimistic that the operatives will conclude their questioning as soon as possible so that he can go home and rest since he hasn’t rested well, owing to the stress of travelling many hours from the United States.

“We are also confident that the EFCC will not indulge in the luxury of keeping him beyond reasonable time and days, especially as he submitted himself to them without stress”.

Mr Eze added that Senator Obanikoro was not afraid of his stewardship, saying he served Nigeria creditably well and was proud of his contributions so far.

Arms Probe: Obanikoro Reports To EFCC

Musiliu Obanikoro, EFCC, Ekiti election, ObanikoroThree months after his invitation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), a former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, has finally reported to the anti-graft agency.

Senator Obanikoro returned to the country on Monday from the U.S. and later proceeded to an EFCC facility.

The former minister who also represented Lagos state in the Senate, had been a subject of interest to the commission in connection with alleged diversion of arms funds.

He has been accused of involvement in corrupt practices, as the anti-corruption campaign of the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration intensified with a clampdown on some public officials from the previous administration.

The EFCC has said that it has proof that Obanikoro received a total of 4.745 billion Naira from the office of the former National Security Adviser between April 4, 2014, and December 15, 2014 through companies belonging to his sons.

Mr Obanikoro has been in the United States since 2015 after the general elections, where he said he was pursuing leadership and language courses at an American university.

The 2015 election saw his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), unseated at the centre.

Indictment In #EkitiElection Scandal

Obanikoro was also named in the alleged manipulation of Ekiti State’s governorship election after the emergence of an audio said to have been recorded by a military officer who was at a meeting with some PDP members.

Asides the release of the controversial audio which recorded voices purportedly of Obanikoro, Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose and other notable persons perfecting plans to rig the election, a PDP member also made headlines by tendering evidences to prove that the election was rigged in favour of the PDP.

Mr Tope Aluko gave a breakdown of how series of meetings were held before the election and listed the persons at the meeting to include former President Jonathan, former PDP Chairman, Adamu Mu’azu, Governor Fayose and himself (Aluko).

“At the meeting President Jonathan agreed that if he needed Ekiti, he would support us to ensure that we delivered.

“At the second meeting we had Obanikoro, Jelili, Omisore… It was a combination of Osun and Ekiti people and they were discussing how we were going to move to take the south-west

“Before the primaries, His Excellency, Ayodele Fayose, said that we can only win using the military. Then we came up with a plan about May,” he alleged.

He referred to the audio, which was leaked on the internet, saying it was genuine and not doctored.

Controversies trailing the role of the military in the alleged rigging of the election after the emergence of the audio have since led to the retirement of one of the indicted officers, Brigadier General Aliyu Momoh.

The Army officer was retired in line with the recommendation of the Army panel set up to look into allegation of professional misconduct against him in connection with the conduct of June 14, 2014 governorship election in Ekiti State and the 2015 general elections.

A board of inquiry led by General Officer Commanding One Division of the Nigerian Army, led by Major General Adeniyi Oyebade, indicted the senior officer and others, recommending various degrees of sanctions for them.

Senate Meets Foreign Minister Over South Africa Xenophobic Attacks

senateThe Nigerian Senate on Tuesday met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Aminu Wali, to discuss issues of xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

At the meeting held on Tuesday, the Minister told the Senate that recalling Nigeria’s envoy to South Africa was a wrong action to take, as they were needed in South Africa to look after Nigerian citizens in there.

Ambassador Wali, who was speaking at a meeting with the senate committee on foreign affairs, also said that contrary to reports, the Federal Government did not recall any of the country’s envoy to South Africa.

Channels Television’s correspondent, Linda Akhigbe, reports that the meeting was called by the Senate to find out from the Minister the true picture of the happenings in South Africa.

There have been different reports in the media that Nigerians and other African nationals were being harassed and killed by South Africans who are demanding that foreign nationals should leave their country.

In response to the attacks, the Senate at plenary last week asked the presidency to recall Nigeria’s High Commissioners to South Africa.

But at the meeting, the Minister of Foreign Affairs said recalling the envoys was not a right step.

He also said that contrary to media reports, the Federal Government had not recalled the High Commissioner to South Africa.

The Minister further gave the figure of Nigerians attacked in South Africa and how much was lost in the xenophobic attacks.

The Senate last week asked the Federal Government to initiate legal proceedings against the Zulu king, Goodwill Zwelithini, who had been blamed for sparking the attacks with comments about foreign workers.

However, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs said the Zulu king had denied making any such inciting comments, saying his statement was taken out of context. He had called the attacks on foreigners ‘vile’

The delegation also met with the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs.

They also briefed the representatives on the happenings in South Africa and the efforts of the Nigerian government.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs assured the Senate and House committees that the Foreign Affairs Ministry would ensure that Nigerians, who lost property in South Africa to the xenophobic attacks, would be well compensated.

Nigerians Lose 84mln Naira To South Africa’s Xenophobic Attacks

South Africa xenophobic attacksThe Nigerian Union in South Africa says more than 4.6 million Rand, about 84 million Naira, has been lost by Nigerians to xenophobic attacks, as against 1.2 million Rand (21 million Naira), initially estimated.

According to Mr Anyene, the union had compiled the losses and given the list to Nigeria’s Consul-General in South Africa.

He said the Nigerian victims of the attacks needed urgent assistance to re-settle, as many of them had lost their means of livelihood.

This is coming just as South Africa is struggling to find a permanent solution to the xenophobia exhibited by its citizens.

Anti-immigrant protest started on March 20 after an influential Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini, spoke out against foreign workers.

“Let us pop our head lice,” he said. “We must remove ticks and place them outside in the sun. We ask foreign nationals to pack their belongings and be sent back.”

Seven people have been killed in the attacks.

The Zulu King said his statement was taken out of context.

Nigeria’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs II, Mr Musiliu Obanikoro, had said the Nigerian government delegation in South Africa had taken record of loses that Nigerians may had incurred as a result of the xenophobic attacks.

He said the government would do its best to ensure that they would be adequately compensated.

Businesses owned by Nigerians have been torched and looted by locals in the wake of the attacks on foreigners.

On Saturday, Nigeria recalled its High Commissioner to South Africa for discussions that would focus on the xenophobic attacks and needed assistance to Nigerians.

Acting High Commissioner, Martin Cobham and Deputy High Commissioner, Uche Ajulu-Okeke, had been asked to return to Nigeria for consultations, a statement by the Foreign Affairs Ministry said.

“The invitation is in connection with the on-going xenophobia in South Africa targeting foreigners, mainly African migrants,” the statement said.