ANOTHER witness of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Damola Otuyalo, has confirmed to the Federal High Court in Abuja that N1.2 billion in cash was handed to Musiliu Obanikoro.
Obanikoro, a former Minister of State for Defence, was alleged by the commission to have received N4.68billion from former National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki and transferred N1.7 billion to Iyiola Omisore for his 2014 gubernatorial bid. The sums of N1.3 billion and $5 million were also said to have been given to Ayodele Fayose, in the build-up to Ekiti State elections in June 2014.
The EFCC released a press statement on Monday disclosing that Otuyalo, Diamond Bank’s former head of Cash and Transit, told the court that N1.2 billion was given to Obanikoro at the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos.
“At the last trial, Abiodun Agbele, an aide of the former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, narrated how he coordinated the movement of N1.2 billion slush fund in the build-up to the Ekiti governorship election in 2014,” said Tony Orilade, EFCC’s acting head of media and publicity who signed the statement.
“At the court hearing today, the prosecution counsel, Wahab Shittu, presented Damola Otuyalo, who gave a vivid account of how the alleged sum was moved out of the local wing of the Lagos Airport and eventually handed over to Obanikoro.”
The witness said 65 “jumbo bags” filled with money were offloaded from the aircraft and he was instructed by his director, through a phone call, to hand over the bags to Obanikoro. The director’s instruction, Otuyalo added, may be found in exhibit AA13, which was already filed and admitted in evidence.
The former Diamond Bank employee made similar statements to the EFCC in 2016.
“We loaded the first aircraft with money and Obanikoro flew with his friends on the first flight. The second aircraft was loaded with money but it could not carry all the cash due to the size of the aircraft and the weight it could carry,” he had said.
“I recall that another aircraft was also used to move the final batch of the money from the bullion van. The second and third movements were supervised by Gbolahan [the former minister’s son] after Obanikoro had left with the first flight.”
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, who is presiding over the trial, adjourned the proceedings to October 4.
'Kunle works with The ICIR as an investigative reporter and fact-checker. You can shoot him an email via firstname.lastname@example.org or, if you're feeling particularly generous, follow him on Twitter @KunleBajo.