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Obanikoro Has ex-minister sneaked out of Nigeria to avoid arms deal probe?

Some of the looted arms deal funds are believed to have been spent on the 2014 Ekiti and Osun governorship elections which former minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro was accused of rigging along with Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain, Iyiola Omisore.

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According to reports, a former minister under the Goodluck Jonathan regime is on the run in a bid to avoid being arrested in connection with the ongoing $2.1 billion arms deal fraud probe.

Some of the looted funds are believed to have been spent on the 2014 Ekiti and Osun governorship elections in less than legal ways, according to The Nation.

According to an agent of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the money was sent into the fleeing former minister’s accounts.

“The huge funds were paid into the accounts of the ex-Minister for elections in the two states. There are allegations that the funds were not disbursed as expected because the candidates had their own campaign funds,” the EFCC source told The Nation.

“Although some military and security personnel were to benefit from the slush funds, they were also short-changed. But we have discovered that the ex-Minister has sneaked out of the country. As soon as we establish his whereabouts, we know what to do,” the source added.

The report didn’t mention the minister involved but in February 2015, former minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro was accused of participating in the alleged rigging of the Ekiti and Osun elections along with Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain, Iyiola Omisore.

Fayose was the PDP candidate for the Ekiti elections while Omisore contested the Osun polls on the party’s platform.

The allegations were made after a supposed audio recording of the trio discussing plans to rig the polls was released by Sagir Koli, a Captain in the 32nd Artillery Brigade stationed in Ekiti State, who was present at the meeting.

Pulse later exclusively confirmed that Obanikoro had retained the services of a New York based firm, Tacopina and Seigel for “a possible lawsuit” against Sahara Reporters, the online platform which initially published the report.

Also named in the accusations were former Minister for Police Affairs, Caleb Olubolade, Brigadier General Aliyu Momoh, Chris Uba and one Honorable Abdulkareem.

Former National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki is being investigated for allegedly supervising the laundering of the $2 billion in funds, which were meant for the procurement of arms for Nigeria’s military.

The former NSA is said to have implicated several persons in connection with the deal including former governors, ministers and top PDP members.

Dasuki was arrested by the Department of State Services (DSS) on December 1, 2015 and handed over to the EFCC the following day.

President Muhammadu Buhari had ordered the arrest of Dasuki and others indicted in the alleged fraud after receiving a report submitted by a panel instituted by him to probe Nigeria’s arms purchases from 2007-2015.

READ: Dasuki accused of N337 billion fraud

The former NSA has been in the eye of the storm since being removed by Buhari in July.

READ: DSS raids Dasuki's home again

His homes in Sokoto and Abuja were raided by agents of the DSS and he was subsequently charged with money laundering and illegal possession of weapons.

The EFCC has also arrested 20 of Dasuki's former staff and Chairman of Africa Independent Television (AIT), Raymond Dokpesi in connection with the allegations.

Dasuki has pleaded not guilty to the charges levelled against him.

Listen to the audio recording on the alleged election rigging plans below:

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