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Wednesday, 22 March 2023 12:17

Alleged N6.9bn Fraud: Court Adjourns Fayose’s Trial

The Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Tuesday 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.

Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke adjourned proceedings after listening to the testimony of the 12th prosecution witness, a former Minister of State for Defence, Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro.

In his testimony, Obanikoro told the court that he had no document showing that he withdrew the sum of N1.2 billion which he allegedly gave Fayose.

During cross-examination by counsel to the second defendant, Olakekan Ojo, SAN, Obanikoro also said that he never at any time showed the operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) any document showing that he gave instruction or withdrew the sum of N1.2 billion from the Diamond Bank account of a company linked to him, 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 the 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 the Board of Directors of Sylva McNamara authorising him to control the management of the account of the company, he said “No.”

“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,” he said.

Obanikoro, who said a former National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki, had no interactions with Fayose or Diamond Bank in respect of the N1.2 billion withdrawn from the account of Sylva McNamara Limited, further told the court the EFCC exonerated him of any wrongdoing after investigations.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, 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 $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.”

The case has been adjourned till May 8 and 9 and June 6, and 8, 2023 for the continuation of trial.

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