Embattled former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, has told EFCC
officials that he gave Ekiti state governor, Ayo Fayose, the $5.37 million (N2.23 billion) he collected from former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki. Obanikoro has been in EFCC custody since on Monday October 17th for his alleged role in the misappropriation of $2.1 billion arms procurement fund.
The Nation reports that the said amount was wired to Sylva Mcnamara, which has been linked to Obanikoro and his sons. Obanikoro during his interrogation, allegedly claimed to have transferred the money to Fayose for disbursement. According to him, he handed Fayose $5,377,000 in cash and N1.3billion was received by the governor’s associate, Abiodun Agbele.
During their interrogation, EFCC officials confronted Obanikoro with a petition from the Office of the National Security Adviser titled “Payment to companies with no contract awards or approval” and dated November 28th 2015. Obanikoro said having gone through the petition, he discovered that Sylva Mcnamara was No. 78 on the list of firms being investigated, having “collected the aggregate sum of N4,685,000,000 between April 4, 2014 and November 13, 2014.
An EFCC official who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the money when receivced was trasferred immediately to Fayose
“N2.2billion was transferred to Sylva Mcnamara for onward transfer to Mr. Ayodele Fayose on the instruction of the National Security Adviser (NSA). The sum of N1.3billion cash was brought in a bullion van by Diamond Bank on the instruction of the NSA. In addition, the sum of N60million was converted to dollars at the rate of N168 per dollar and altogether the sum of $5,377,000 was handed over in cash by me to Mr. Fayose while the N1.3billion was received by Mr. Fayose’s associate, Mr. Abiodun Agbele, in the presence of my Aide-de-Camp (ADC), Lt. Adewale, who also accompanied them to the bank along with the bank officials. I didn’t interact with the bank officials. I called Fayose before the funds were handed over to Mr. Abiodun Agbele. I spoke to Fayose with my phone at Akure airport.”
On how the cash was transferred to Fayose, the source said Obanikoro told investigators that “two flights were used to convey the money from Lagos”.
The ex-minister said he “took off with the first flight with part of the money. The second flight brought the remaining funds to Akure airport and I directed that it should be handed over to the same person,” he was quoted as saying.
The source added that the former Minister maintained that part of the cash was used to ward off Boko Haram aggression in Lagos and in the Southwest.
“He told us that he is not the owner of the company in question but introduced the owner, Mr. Kareem Taiwo, to the NSA, Mr. Sambo Dasuki, when the threat of Boko Haram became more visible in Lagos. He said the government wanted to “incorporate local input into the intelligence gathering and prevention of terrorist attack on Lagos and the Southwest”.
The EFCC had discovered that Sylvan Mcnamara Limited, allegedly owned by Obanikoro and his sons, was used to launder the N4.745billion. The company, which was incorporated in November 2011, has the following as its directors: the ex-Minister’s aide, Ikenna Ezekwe(700,000 shares) of 51 Simpson Street, Ebute-Metta; Idowu Oshodi(299,000 shares) of 8, Prince Tayo Adesanya Street, Park View Estate, Ikoyi; and Elizabeth Adebiyi(1,000 shares) of 3, Adedoyin Street, Ijeshatedo, Surulere.
Ezekwe has had his accounts defrozen by the EFCC since the slush funds were not traced to him.
Part of a document being used in the investigation reads “To set the stage for the use of the company for money laundering, the board of directors on May 7, 2012 passed a resolution that the company should open an account and appointed Mr. Gbolahan Obanikoro, Ikenna Ezekwe, Ms. Theresa Matuluko (Secretary) and Mr. Babajide Obanikoro as the signatories to the account.
The board added that the signing combination be that any of the signatories can sign alone.”
According to EFCC, when it was time to draw the N4.745billion from ONSA as a war chest for the Ekiti governorship poll, ex-Minister Obanikoro made the account of Sylvan Mcnamara Limited available and coordinated the disbursement.
The breakdown of the disbursement is as follows:
N N759, 384, 300 changed into dollars through Bureau de change;
N160million used to purchase cars through Balmoral International Limited;
N1, 219, 490,000 ferried by Obanikoro in two flights to Akure and received by Fayose’s associate, Abiodun; and
balance of about N2billion withdrawn by Obanikoro and his two children in cash.
Some of the bureau de change involved in the transactions and the amounts credited to them include A.A.G.B.S Oil and Gas (N168,000,000.00); Sylvan Mcnamara Ltd (N167,500,000.00); Northline Ltd (N835,000.00); Northline Ltd (N83,750,000.00); Five Star Ltd N(37,600,000.00); A.B.A Trading Ent (N268,301,500.00); Villagolf Bureau De Change (N1,425,000.00); Ahmad &Omar (N350,000.000); Northline Ltd (N1,680,000.00); Northline Limited A (N2,325,300); Rehoboth Homes (20,000,0000); Northline Ltd (N5,932,500.00); Northline Ltd (N842,500); Northline Ltd (N842,500.00).