Alleged ₦6.9bn Fraud: Court Adjourns Fayose’s Trial Till May 8

Alleged ₦6.9bn Fraud: Court Adjourns Fayose’s Trial Till May 8

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Justice Chukujekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Wednesday, March 21, 2023, adjourned further hearing in the trial of a former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, and his company, Spotless Investment Limited, over an alleged N6.9bn fraud, till May 8, 2023.

Recall that the Lagos Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had, on Tuesday, 2nd, July 2019, re-arraigned Fayose and Spotless Investment Limited on an 11-count charge bordering on money laundering and stealing to the tune of N6.9bn ( Six Billion Nine Hundred Naira).

The 12th prosecution witness, PW 12, Musiliu Obanikoro, a former Minister of State for Defence, at the resumed sitting today told the court that he had no document showing that he withdrew the sum of N1.2 billion, which he allegedly gave Fayose.

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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.

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Meanwhile, Obanikoro had in his previous testimony, 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 instalments.

But when asked if he produced any resolution of the Board of Directors of Sylva McNamara, authorising him to control the management of the account of the company, he said “No.”

In his words, “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a former National Security Adviser, had no interactions with Fayose or Diamond Bank in respect of the N1.2billion withdrawn from the account of Sylva McNamara Limited, further told the court the EFCC exonerated him of any wrongdoing after investigations.

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When 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.”

He, however, denied not to remember how much he refunded, “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 $4bn 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.”

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The case was therefore adjourned till the 8th and 9th of May and the 6th and 8th of June 2023 for the continuation of trial.

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Peter Okoye, PBA Journalism Mentee
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