I did not sign for cash collected from Dasuki for Fayose, Obanikoro tells Court
The Federal High Court in Lagos Monday heard that there is no record of the N1.2billion and $5million which former Minister of State for defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, allegedly delivered to former Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose.
Testifying in Fayose’s trial for money laundering before Justice Mojisola Olatoregun, Obanikoro, the fifth prosecution witness, said he did not sign for the money he received from former National Security Adviser (NSA) Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd).
“I did not sign any records at the Office of the National Security Adviser for the monies that I collected,” he said.
Obanikoro was cross-examined by defence counsel Kanu Agabi (SAN) (for Fayose) and Olalekan Ojo (SAN) (for Fayose’s company and co-accused Spotless Limited).
The former minister agreed that he was also under investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and that he was eventually made to return N200million out of the money he received from Dasuki.
“I was investigated over funds disbursed through the ONSA. I was kept in EFCC custody for 21 days. I reluctantly returned the N200million cash. Some money was seized from an account related to me,” Obanikoro said.
The witness explained how he came about using the account of Sylvan Mcnamara Limited to receive money from ONSA.
He said Dasuki’s successor wrote a petition against him and the company alleging that they collected funds for which no contract was executed.
“It was the NSA (Dasuki) that requested me to furnish the account. The request to furnish the account was made orally,” he said.
Obanikoro said Dasuki told him that the account was for the purpose of transferring funds meant for the security of Lagos.
“The account was for securing Lagos. I sourced the account from Taiwo Kareem. It remained his property. We came about the company (Sylvan Mcnamara) because they made a presentation to the ONSA and was found to have the capacity for securing Lagos,” he said.
Asked if Sylvan Mcnamara was a security company, Obanikoro said he would not know until he saw the firm’s articles of incorporation.
“That’s the purpose it was used for (securing Lagos). The decision to qualify Sylvan Mcnamara was that of the NSA. I introduced the company to NSA and the approval was given,” he said.
Asked what the NSA had in mind when he asked him to source for the account, he said: “The NSA wanted to protect Lagos. I deserve a medal of honour for the protection of Lagos which we did successfully.”
On why the account appeared to be shrouded in secrecy, Obanikoro said: “Clandestine security operations don’t work the way an average person wants it to work.”
Obanikoro admitted that some funds were transferred from the account to Rehoboth Homes, such as N74million on May 31, 2014.
He explained that Rehoboth Homes “must have been one of the vehicles to get the dollar content to Fayose”.
Other sums, such as N5million, were also transferred to unknown persons from the account on at least three different times.
Agabi said: “The reason they hide the identities of the recipients is because their job is evil.”
Obanikoro responded: “I am not an evil doer sir. When a job is for society’s good, it cannot be characterised as evil. You do not keep records for some of these transactions.”