Alleged N6.9bn Fraud: Court Adjourns Fayose’s Trial Till May
Justice Chukujekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Tuesday, March 21, 2023, adjourned further hearing in the trial of former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, and his company, Spotless Investment Limited, over an alleged N6.9bn fraud, till May 8, 2023.
The Lagos Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), had, on Tuesday, July 2, 2019, re-arraigned Fayose and his company on an 11-count charge bordering on money laundering and stealing to the tune of N6.9bn.
The defendants had first been arraigned on October 22, 2018 before Justice Mojisola Olatoregun.
At the resumed sitting today, the 12th prosecution witness, PW 12, Musiliu Obanikoro, a former Minister of State for Defence, told the court that he had no document showing that he withdrew the sum of N1.2billion, which he allegedly gave Fayose.
During cross-examination by counsel to the second defendant, Olakekan Ojo, SAN, Obanikoro told the court that he never, at any time, showed the EFCC operatives any document showing that he gave instruction or withdrew the sum of N1.2 billion from the Diamond Bank account of Sylva McNamara Limited.
Obanikoro, in his previous testimony, had told the court that the sum of N1.2 billion was deposited into the account of a company, Sylva McNamara, to fund “clandestine security operations” to prevent terrorists’ activities in Lagos State in two installments.
When asked if he produced any resolution of Board of Directors of Sylva McNamara, authorising him to control the management of the account of the company, he said “No.”
According to him, “I didn’t produce any Board resolution or letter to the EFCC. Also, there was no letter from Sylva McNamara to the then Diamond Bank, telling the bank that I was asked to control and manage the account.”
Obanikoro, who said Sambo Dasuki, a former National Security Adviser, had no interactions with Fayose or Diamond Bank in respect of the N1.2 billion withdrawn from the account of Sylva McNamara Limited, further told the court the EFCC exonerated him of any wrongdoing after investigations.
Asked if he was ever asked to refund money to the EFCC, he said: “Yes, I refunded, as it was part of the conditions given for my release. Anywise man would do the same.”
When asked how much was refunded, the he said: “I do not recall.”
But when Ojo asked Obanikoro if the money he refunded was between N100m and N200m, he responded: “ Okay, around that…”
Obanikoro, while reacting to the question about the sum of $4million he allegedly gave Fayose, said: ”In our line of business, it is not customary to ask for receipt or acknowledgement of such money.
“So, there was no confirmation of the money.”
The case was adjourned till May 8 and 9 and June 6, 8, 2023 for continuation of trial.