Defence continues cross-examination of Obanikoro – Fayose

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The trial of former Governor of Ekiti, Ayodele Fayose, for money laundering continued on Tuesday in Lagos, with defence cross-examining the12th prosecution witness, Musiliu Obanikoro.

Mr Fayose is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, before a Federal High Court for alleged fraud and money laundering.

He was first arraigned on Oct. 22. 2018, before Justice Mojisola Olatotegun alongside his company, Spotless Investment Ltd., on 11 counts.


He had pleaded not guilty to the charges, and was granted bail on Oct. 24, 2018, in the sum of N50 million with sureties in like sum.

The defendant was, however, re-arraigned before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke on July 2, 2019, after the case was withdrawn from Olatoregun following a petition by the EFCC.

He had also pleaded not guilty to the charges, and was allowed to continue on the earlier bail.

The commission has since opened its case before Mr Aneke.

In December 2021, EFCC called its 11th witness, Joanne Tolulope, who narrated how one Abiodun Agbele, said to be an associate of Fayose, allegedly unlawfully bought property worth millions of Naira for the defendant.

On Jan. 31, EFCC called its 12th witness, Musiliu Obanikoro, a former Minister of State for Defence.

The witness testified that the sum of N1.2 billion was deposited into the account of a company called Sivan Mcmara which, he said, was used to fund clandestine security operations aimed at preventing terrorists’ activities in Lagos State

On Tuesday, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) announced appearance for EFCC.

Messrs Ola Olanipekun (SAN) and Olalekan Ojo (SAN) appeared for the first and second defendants, respectively.

During cross-examination,  Ojo, asked the witness to recall his various visits to the EFCC  and tell the court if he had any document showing withdrawal of N1.2 billion which he allegedly gave to the defendant.

The witness responded in the negative, saying that he did not produce any such document to the commission.

The witness also told the court that during his visits to the EFCC, he never showed the commission any document depicting that he gave instructions for or withdrew N1.2 billion from the account of Sivan Mcmara.

He also told the court that a former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, had no interaction with the defendant in respect of the N1.2 billion withdrawn from the account of Sivan Mcmara.

When reminded that in his earlier evidence, he had stated that he took over the control and management of the company’s account, the witness answered in the affirmative.

Defence counsel then asked him: “Did you produce any resolution of the Board of Directors of Sivan Mcmara, authorising you to control the management of the account of the company?”

The witness replied, ‘No’, adding that he did not produce any board resolution or letter to the EFCC.

The witness however clarified that he was part of those who founded the company and not the sole owner.

He told the court that during his interrogation at the EFCC, he did not produce any minutes of the company’s board, showing his participation.

When asked if he had the receipt of the money he allegedly gave to the defendant, he replied that it was not customary to ask for receipt or acknowledgement of such money.

Justice Aneke adjourned the case until May 6 for continuation of trial.

According to the charge against Fayose, on June 17, 2014, he and Abiodun Agbele illegally took possession of N1.2 billion for purposes of funding his gubernatorial election campaign in Ekiti.

Mr Fayose also allegedly received a cash payment of five million dollars (about N1.8 billion) from Obanikoro without going through any financial institution.

He is also charged with unlawfully retaining N300 million in a bank account and illegally taking  control of about  N622 million.

The EFCC alleges that the former governor reasonably ought to know that the money was part of crime proceeds.

It also alleges that the defendants procured De Privateer Ltd. and Still Earth Ltd. to illegally retain N851 million.

It claims that Mr Fayose used about N1.6 billion crime proceeds to acquire property in Lagos and Abuja.

The commission also charged Mr Fayose with using N200 million crime proceeds to acquire a property in Abuja in the name of his elder sister, Moji Oladeji.

The alleged offences contravene Sections 15(1), 15 (2), 15 (3), 16(2)(b), 16 (d), and 18 (c) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act of 2011.


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