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Alleged N4.7bn fraud: Obanikoro may spend many days with EFCC

By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor

After spending the first night in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for alleged fraud, there were indications that former Minister of State for Defence, Senator   Musiliu Obanikoro, may spend more days answering questions from the agency.

One of his aides said yesterday that they were unsure if their principal would be released on administrative bail or not.

Obanikoro, who was taken in for interrogation after turning in himself around 1pm on Monday, was still being grilled by top operatives of EFCC as at 6pm yesterday, adding that there was no indication he would be released.

The former minister stormed the office of the EFCC in Abuja from his base in the United States of America, apparently to honour a belated invitation from the commission which had earlier declared him wanted in relation to the laundering of cash worth N4.7 billion allegedly funnelled from the office of the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki, retd.

Obanikoro has denied any wrongdoing in the matter, blaming the EFCC for trying to unjustly bring him down. But the commission invited Obanikoro to answer questions in relation to the cash, which it claims was part of the looted $2.1 billion meant for arms purchase to battle insurgents.

It will be recalled that the EFCC had earlier in the year, raided Obanikoro’s Lagos home and carted away some property from the compound in the absence of the former minister and his two sons, who have been under its radar over alleged receipt of N4.7 billion from the office of the National Security Adviser in 2014.

The cash was reportedly traced to the two men, Babajide and Gbolahan, who are both directors of a firm used in siphoning the funds from the office of the former National Security Adviser.

The commission said the raid was in connection with earlier finding that the money received from the ONSA “came from curious transfers” that needed explanations from the recipients.

“We raided the house with a view to getting relevant information in relation to ongoing investigation of how the sum of N4.7 billion was moved in 10 tranches into accounts linked to the former minister’s sons,” the source said.

Before the raid, the EFCC had earlier in the year, accused the former minister and his sons of receiving the money, which it alleged was used to influence elections in two South-West states of Ondo and Osun.

The amount in question was paid in many tranches from the ONSA account with the CBN into Sylvan McNamara Limited in Diamond Bank with account No. 0026223714, which they allegedly had interest.

Of interest to the EFCC is the fact that all the transfers were done between June and December 2014, a period that coincided with the preparation for and conduct of Ekiti governorship poll which brought Governor Ayodele Fayose into office.

 


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