by Yusuf Alli, TheNation
tectives have traced about N4.745billion of the diverted $2. 1billion arms cash to a former Minister of State (Defence), Musiliu Obanikoro and Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose.
The cash was sourced from the SAS Imprest Account of the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) under ex-NSA Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.) prior to the conduct of the June 21, 2014 Ekiti State governorship election, according to an Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) investigation.
Others linked with the sharing of the slush funds include Fayose’s associate, Abiodun Agbele (Alias Abbey); Mrs. Helen Olayemi Fayose; Obanikoro’s sons — Gbolahan and Babajide — Ikenna Ezekwe; Sylvan Mcnamara Limited(a company allegedly run by the Obanikoros); Spotless Hotel, owned by Fayose and De Privateer Limited, which is owned by Agbele.
About 30 bureaux de change changed N759, 384, 300 (out of the N4.745billion) into dollars.
A curious aspect of the findings by the EFCC is how Obanikoro, as a minister, flew N1.218billion to Akure on June 12, 2014 for Fayose a few days before the election.
According to documents obtained by our correspondent, EFCC investigators discovered that a firm, Sylvan Mcnamara Limited, allegedly owned by Obanikoro and his sons, was used to launder the N4.745billion.
The directors of the company, which was incorporated in November 2011, are: a close aide of the ex-Minister, Ikenna Ezekwe(700,000 shares) of 51 Simpson Street, Ebute-Metta; Idowu Oshodi(299,000 shares) of 8, Prince Tayo Adesanya Street, Park View Estate, Ikoyi; and Elizabeth Adebiyi(1,000 shares) of 3, Adedoyin Street, Ijeshatedo, Surulere.
“To set the stage for the use of the company for money laundering, the board of directors on May 7, 2012 passed a resolution that the company should open an account and appointed Mr. Gbolahan Obanikoro, Ikenna Ezekwe, Ms. Theresa Matuluko (Secretary) and Mr. Babajide Obanikoro as the signatories to the account.
“The board added that the signing combination be that any of the signatories can sign alone.”
According to the EFCC, when it was time to illegally draw the N4.745billion from ONSA for election, Obanikoro made the account of Sylvan Mcnamara Limited available and coordinated the disbursement.
The breakdown of the disbursement is N759, 384, 300 changed into dollars through bureaux de change; N160million spent on cars through Balmoral International Limited; N1, 219, 490,000 ferried by Obanikoro in two flights to a branch of Zenith Bank at Plot 13, Alagbaka Estate, Akure to evacuate the cash and received by Fayose’s associate, Abiodun; balance of about N2billion withdrawn by Obanikoro and his two children in cash.
Some of the bureaux de change and the amounts credited to them include A.A.G.B.S Oil and Gas (N168,000,000.00); Sylvan Mcnamara Ltd (N167,500,000.00); Northline Ltd (N835,000.00); Northline Ltd (N83,750,000.00); Five Star Ltd N(37,600,000.00); A.B.A Trading Ent (N268,301,500.00); Villagolf Bureaux De (N1,425,000.00); Ahmad Ahmad &Omar (N350,000.000); Northline Ltd (N1,680,000.00); Northline Limited A (N2,325,300); Rehoboth Homes (N20,000,0000); Northline Ltd (N5,932,500.00); Northline Ltd (N842,500); Northline Ltd (N842,500.00).
The EFCC also exposed how N1, 219, 490,000 was allegedly flown to Akure Airport on June 12, 2014 to Fayose through his associate, Abiodun Agbele (aka Abbey).
The Nation yesterday stumbled on a document on the EFCC’s findings. It reads: “On June 12, 2014, the sum of N1, 219, 490,000 was flown from Lagos to Akure Airport by Musiliu Obanikoro through a chartered plane (HS 125 jet) with a tail number N638MA. The plane belongs to Okin Travels which is a subsidiary of Elizade Motors. But the aircraft was then managed by OAS Helicopters for commercial/ chartered service.
“The ex-minister was accompanied by his military Aide-de-Camp who introduced himself as A.O. Adewale.
“The N1, 219, 490,000 was in two consignments but flown in the same aircraft twice in the morning and in the evening. From FAAN records, the first cash of N724, 500,000 arrived at Akure Airport at an estimated time of 9.38am and the second was at 17.57hours.
“A bullion van was brought by Zenith Bank to the tarmac at the airport in Akure to evacuate the cash to Zenith Bank at Plot 13, Alagbaka Estate, Akure.
“Obanikoro handed over the funds to Fayose’s associate, Abiodun Agbele (alias Abbey). This Abiodun in company with the bank officials moved the money to Zenith Bank in Akure.”
The EFCC gave details of how the N1, 219, 490,000 was shared to Fayose and others by Agbele.”
The document said: “The N1, 219, 490,000 was not deposited in any account but it was kept in a vault in the bank. It took the bank officials about 10 days to count. The bankers refused to make entry until it was counted,
“Shortly after confirming the figure, Abiodun was used to coordinate the disbursement of the funds. On June 26, 2014, the wanted associate (Abiodun Agbele) paid N137million into Ayodele Fayose’s account 10003126654 with Zenith Bank through Teller-0556814. Fayose’s BVN on the teller is 22338867502. On August 22, 2014, he paid N50million into the same account. By the records from the bank, Abiodun paid another N118, 760,000 into Fayose’s account on 27/8/14.
“Based on the transfers, Fayose moved N300million to a Fixed Deposit Account No 9013074033 with Zenith Bank at 15, Olusola Abiona Street, Olorunda Estate, Alapere Ketu. He has the same BVN-22338867502.
“After that, Abiodun deposited another N100million from the N1, 219, 490,000 into Spotless Hotel Account run by Fayose and Helen Olayemi Fayose with Account No. 1010170969, Fayose’s BVN is 223338867502 and Helen’s BVN in the account is 22298990256.
“The governor and Helen are the two directors and signatories of Spotless Hotel account.”
In the course of the investigation, the EFCC team dug up how De Privateer Limited (a company owned by Abiodun Agbele ) with Account No. 1013835889 received N219, 490,000 on June 18, 2014.
“On June 19, 2014, the same account received N300million and another N200million on June 23, 2014. The BVN of the account is 22235692890.
A top official of the EFCC said: “Fayose benefited from the ONSA slush funds when he was yet to be a governor. So, the fact that he has immunity now as a governor does not mean we should not investigate him.
“The EFCC also has the right to interact with all those connected with the illegal withdrawal of public funds and the diversion of the cash.”
Regarding the fate of Fayose’s associate, the source added: “We will invite him for interrogation; we have already initiated the process.”