By Dipo Awojobi – There are strong indications that a former Minister of State (Defence) Musiliu Obanikoro is yet to refund the N785million allegedly collected from the Office of National Security Adviser (ONSA), hence his continued detention by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)
Obanikoro had allegedly planned to immediately refund about N100million from the money to regain his freedom and look for the balance.
About N4.685billon was allegedly transferred to Sylva McNamara Limited, a company allegedly linked to the ex-minister from ONSA.
Obanikoro told the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) detectives that N3.880billion was given to Governor Ayodele Fayose and Sen. Iyiola Omisore out of the said cash.
He also said that he handed over $5.377m (N60m then) cash to Fayose at Spotless Hotel, Ado-Ekiti in the presence of the former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Secretary, Tope Aluko and other party stalwarts.
He said that the balance of N785million was expended on alleged anti-Boko Haram campaign in Lagos and the Southwest by Sylvan Mcnamara.
The ex-minister is said to be desperately seeking how to refund the money.
A top source said: “The ex-Minister is yet to pay back any money out of the N785million in question. Although he promised initial remittance of N100million, he is yet to do so.
“Instead, he said he will make a commitment to the EFCC to refund the cash. He begged for more time to enable him to look for the refund.
“We are however expecting him to make reasonable refund; we cannot accept just an undertaking from him. He needs to live up to his promise.
“The refusal to refund any amount has been a major issue why his bail is being delayed.”
The EFCC had discovered that Sylvan Mcnamara Limited, allegedly owned by Obanikoro and his sons, was used to launder the N4.745billion.
The company, which was incorporated in November 2011, has the following as its directors: 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.
Ezekwe’s accounts have been defrozen by the EFCC since the slush funds were not traced to him.
Ezekwe has also been removed as the company’s director.
According to EFCC, when it was time to illegally draw the N4.745billion from ONSA as war chest for Ekiti Governorship poll, ex-Minister Obanikoro made the account of Sylvan Mcnamara Limited available and coordinated the disbursement.