Obanikoro to stand as witness against Fayose in N1.3bn EFCC probe

The former governor's media aide has called on the EFCC to charge him to court if they have enough evidence as claimed.

Musiliu Obanikoro

The former governor gave himself up to the anti-graft agency on Tuesday, October 16, 2018, facing allegations of receiving N1.3 billion from the office of former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, in the run up to the Ekiti State governorship election in 2014.

Fayose made a show of turning himself in on Tuesday as he wore a shirt with "EFCC, I'm here" inscribed on it, and also carrying two packed bags as he earlier said he was prepared to be detained.

When he posted news of his detention on his Twitter account yesterday, he disclosed that his media aide, Lere Olayinka, will manage the account on his behalf until he regains his freedom.

Early on Wednesday, October 17, Olayinka, tweeting through Fayose's official handle alleged that the EFCC has claimed that Obanikoro has agreed to act as a state witness in the allegations against the former governor.

He posted, "@officialEFCC claims that @MObanikoro has agreed to act as a state witness in their allegation against @GovAyoFayose.

"There's no need to waste time. Simply charge the man to court and stop hoping you can hound him into accepting what he knows nothing about #FayoseIsNotAfraid."

Fayose is alleged to have collected the N1.3 billion through Obanikoro who was minister at the time and was a member of the People's Democratic Party (PDP), same as Fayose.

Obanikoro was subsequently arrested in 2016 on allegations of receiving N4.685 billion from Dasuki's office in 2014 and funneling it towards winning elections in Ekiti and Osun State for the then-ruling PDP.

The sum was sourced from the $2.1 billion voted for arms procurement and allegedly mismanaged by Dasuki who's also under probe.

How Fayose allegedly received N1.3bn from Obanikoro

According to a fact-sheet obtained from the EFCC and published by The Nation in August 2018, of the N4.685 billion in question, the anti-graft agency traced N685 million to Obanikoro, N1.3 billion and $5.377 million (at the exchange rate of N168 to $1) to Fayose and N2.0030 billion to Iyiola Omisore who was the PDP's flag bearer in the 2014 Osun governorship election.

The sheet read, "On his part, Fayose was allocated N1.3 billion and $5.377 million (at the exchange rate of N168. The $5,377,000 was handed over in cash by Obanikoro to Fayose while the N1.3 billion was received by Fayose's associate, Mr. Abiodun Agbele, in the presence of the ex-Minister's Aide-de-Camp, who also accompanied them to the bank along with bank officials.

"From the $5 million, Fayose gave his Personal Assistant, Agbele about $1 million, which he exchanged to Naira and paid for properties on behalf of the governor. Detectives suspected that Fayose added more of the N1.3 billion cash to what he gave Agbele to buy the affected assets.

"The properties worth N1.8 billion purchased with the said proceeds of crime have been recovered from Fayose and his sister, Moji Ladeji. These assets include four in Lagos (N1.1 billion) and two in Abuja worth about N500 million to N700 million.

"But Fayose has been claiming that he used his company, Spotless to obtain a loan of N120 million from Zenith Bank as part of what he used to buy one of the properties in Abuja. We are already tracking how he disbursed the N1.3 billion.

"A prima facie case has been established against Fayose but he is enjoying immunity from prosecution as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution. He will, however, face trial as soon as he hands over power to his successor.

"But the associate of the governor, Abiodun Agbele, has been charged to court accordingly."

Obanikoro had previously allegedly told the EFCC that he was only asked to deliver the cash to both Fayose and Omisore for their gubernatorial campaigns on the platform of the PDP.

Since then, he has dumped the party for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), with reports that he cut a deal with the government and returned some of the sum traced to him.

Fayose's other 'sins'

Fayose is also believed to be under probe for allegedly receiving bribes from various contractors as Ekiti State governor. He is alleged to have used fronts to acquire properties in Lagos and Abuja with bribes from said contractors.

The EFCC is also believed to be investigating the former governor over another alleged N1.3 billion fraud at the Ekiti Integrated Poultry Project Biological Concepts Limited.

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