How N1.2bn was laundered for Fayose, witness tells court

SENIOR Manager and a branch head of Akure, Ondo State, branch of a new generation bank, Mr Alade Sunday, on Thursday, narrated before Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of a Federal High Court, Abuja, how the Akure branch of the bank helped the former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro and Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State to move a total of N1,219,490,000.

The revelation came to the fore at the commencement of trial of one Abiodun Agbele, an accomplice of Fayose, who was arraigned alongside Obanikoro (in absentia), Sylvan Mcnamara Limited, A. O. Adewale, Tunde Oshinowo and Olalekan Ogunseye (all at large), on an 11-count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of N1.2 billion, allegedly transferred from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).

While being led in evidence by the prosecuting counsel, Wahab Shittu, Sunday informed the court that he saw the accused (Agbele) on June 17, 2014, when his zonal head, Abiodun Oshodi, informed him that he received a message from one Lawrence Akande, regional manager in Ibadan, Oyo State, that a customer of the bank would be coming with cash through Akure branch, and since his branch is in Akure, he should arrange for a bullion van to be taken to the airport to convey the cash when it arrives.

“After about one hour, my zonal head, Abiodun, walked up to me that the customer in question was in the bank with him and I followed him to his office and he introduced the defendant to me as the customer.

“He told me that they have security details and I don’t need other security since they had enough. That was how we left the office, myself, my zonal head and the bullion van driver with the defendant and some of his securities, including one Adewale, who happens to be the aide-de-camp to Obanikoro.

“When we got to the airport, we waited for some minutes before the aircraft arrived with some occupants. When the occupants came down, the defendant walked to meet them and they discussed. The cash was put in our bullion van and we drove back to the branch with the defendant.

“One of the occupants appeared to be Musiliu Obanikoro and one other person who I do not know. When we got to the branch, we counted the cash and it was about N724,500,000. The defendant told us that more cash was still coming, and he left for the airport. In the evening of the same date, the second tranche of money amounted to N494,990,000,” he said.

The witness further testified that Agbele was the customer whose account was being operated and gave instructions on how the monies were to be transferred.

He said the sum of N100 million was credited into the account of one Spotless Investment account number 1010170969 domiciled in Ibadan branch of the bank, N219,490,000, N300 million and N200 million were transferred into the account of one De Privateer Limited with account number 1013835889 also domiciled in Ibadan, while the sum of N137 million was transferred into the account of Ayodele Fayose.

Agbele was said to have eventually taken away the cash balance of N263 million with the security team to Ado Ekiti on the same day the cash was delivered in Akure.

The witness, who said he could not recognise the number of the aircraft that conveyed the stash of money, said it was metallic in colour and he could recognise the face of Obanikoro, while the cash was placed in “Ghana-must-go” sacks.

According to him, the other aircraft that brought the second batch of cash was smaller in size and the sacks of money were too numerous for him to ascertain the exact number of them.

Justice Dimgba adjourned the matter till November 14 and 17.