Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja
A former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, on Monday returned N30m to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. This brings the total amount of money he has returned to the EFCC to N134m.
A source at the EFCC said, “Obanikoro came on Monday and presented a draft of about N30m. Initially we did not want to collect it because it is small compared to what he is supposed to have given us. However, the legal department advised us to collect it.”
Obanikoro had in October returned N104m to the commission. The ex-minister, who returned to Nigeria last month after spending about 15 months in the United States, was accused of receiving N4.7bn from the Office of the National Security Adviser under the leadership of Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.). Obanikoro had said in his statement of oath at the EFCC that after receiving the money in 2014, he gave N1.219bn to the then governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, while N1.3bn was given to the PDP candidate in Osun State, Senator Iyiola Omisore.
He also confessed to giving Fayose a separate $5.377m at Spotless Hotel in Ekiti State in the presence of party leaders including the then PDP Secretary, Mr. Tope Aluko.
Obanikoro was said to have kept about N785m for himself, which he allegedly spent while campaigning ahead of the PDP governorship primary in Lagos State. Mr. Jimi Agbaje won the primary.
However, the EFCC asked Obanikoro to return about N584m out of which he had already returned N134m.
At the EFCC office on Monday, Obanikoro promised the detectives that he would return the remaining N450m in 2017.
The source said, “About N450m is remaining and Obanikoro has promised to pay the rest in 2017. He will also be reporting at our office every two weeks.”
At the Federal High Court in Abuja presided over by Justice Nnamdi Dimgba last week, Mr. Alade Sunday, a manager at Zenith Bank, narrated how Obanikoro delivered about N1.219bn to Fayose’s aide, Abiodun Agbele, for onward transmission to his boss.
He had also said it took the cashiers about 10 days to count the money.
Sunday had said Obanikoro flew with the cash to Akure Airport and the money was loaded into bullion vans.
He had said, “When we got to the airport, we waited for some minutes before the aircraft arrived. When the aircraft offloaded its passengers, one of them appeared to me to be Senator Musliu Obanikoro and the other one appeared to be his ADC, Adewale.
“Agbele walked up to them and had a discussion with them. Thereafter, he signalled me to bring the van. Bags loaded with cash were loaded into the van and Obanikoro’s ADC, Agbele and I drove back to the bank.”
Meanwhile, it was learnt Omisore had appealed to the EFCC to return his passport to him to enable him to travel out of the country.
A source at the commission said, “We cannot return his passport to him now because he has not yet returned half of the money. He has returned only N350m out of N1.3bn. When he returns half, then the EFCC can consider returning the passport to him.”