By Innocent Anaba
THE trial of former governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, resumed, yesterday, before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, with a prosecution witness, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, admitting he was a suspect and investigated.
Obanikoro, a former Minister of State for Defence, was cross-examined by defence counsel, Chief Kanu Agabi, SAN.
He also told the court that he was testifying against Fayose reluctantly, noting that they enjoyed a good relationship while they were both members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Obanikoro has since defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, appeared for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, while Agabi and Olalekan Ojo, SAN, represented Obanikoro and Spotless Investment, respectively.
Obanikoro said despite testifying against Fayose, he wouldn’t want their relationship to be destroyed.
At a point in the course of being grilled by a defence counsel, Obanikoro burst out saying: “I am trying to restrain myself from saying things that will further damage our relationship.”
But pushing him further, the defence counsel, Ojo, asked: “So, will it be correct to say that you are giving evidence in this case reluctantly?”
Answering, Obanikoro said: “It’s painful for me to give evidence against him (Fayose); no doubt about it. It is indeed very painful.”
Fayose was arraigned by the EFCC on October 22, 2018, alongside his company, Spotless Investment Ltd., on an 11-count charge bordering on N6.9 billion fraud.
He pleaded not guilty to the charge, and was granted bail in the sum of N50 million with one surety in like sum.
Obanikoro, the fifth prosecution witness began evidence on January 21, saying that Fayose received $5m and some amounts of naira from the impress account of a former National Security Adviser, NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki, in June 2014.
On cross-examination by Agabi, Obanikoro admitted that there was a long time between when he was invited for evidence and when he finally came.
He also admitted that he was a suspect and investigated when he made a statement to the EFCC.
When told that he made the statement in self-defence, he said: “I gave evidence of what transpired; I was stating the truth and nothing but the truth. I was in custody for 21 days.”
He testified that he was investigated about funds disbursed through the Office of the NSA.
When asked how many statement he made when in custody, the witness replied that he made several statements but could not remember how many.
Further hearing in the matter continues today.