Alleged N3.3bn Fraud: I Refunded N200m To FG Under Duress– Obanikoro
A former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, has claimed that he was forced by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to refund about N200 million to the federal government.
Obanikoro testified as the 12th prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of the former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, tover an alleged N3.3 billion fraud before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court in Lago.
Naija News reports that Fayose alongside his company, Spotless Investment Limited, is facing an 11-count charge of criminal breach of trust, theft, and stealing of public funds.
While being cross-examined by lawyers to the second defendant, Olakekan Ojo (SAN), Obanikoro said that after various investigations, the EFCC exonerated him of any wrongdoing, adding that he was in the process of recovering the money.
He also testified that before he was cleared by the anti-graft agency, he was made to refund between N100 million and N200 million to the federal government under duress.
The former minister further claimed that he had instructed his lawyers to write the EFCC for the return of the money he refunded under duress.
Obanikoro also informed the court that he has no document to show that he withdrew the sum of N1.2 billion, which he claimed that he gave to the former governor of Ekiti State during his re-election bid in 2014.
He stated that during his several visits to the EFCC, he never showed the EFCC operatives that investigated the matter any document showing that he gave instruction or withdrew the sum of N1.2 billion from the Diamond bank account of Sylva McNamara Limited.
The witness also testified that he did not produce any resolution of the Board of Directors of Sylva McNamara authorizing him to control the management of the account of the company.
Obanikoro further told the court that the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, had no interactions with the first defendant or Diamond bank regarding the N1.2 billion withdrawn from the account of Sylva McNamara Limited.
When the lawyer asked him if he had a receipt of the $4 billion he allegedly gave to Fayose, Obanikoro said, “In our line of business, it’s not customary to ask for receipt or acknowledgement of such money. So, there was no confirmation of the money.”
Justice Aneke has adjourned the case to May 6 for the continuation of the trial.