•Arraigns Fani-Kayode, Nenadi Usman on N1.5bn charges
From Iheanacho Nwosu, Abuja and Lukman Olabiyi
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), yesterday, raided the Lagos State residence of a former minister of state for defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro. The house is located in Park View Estate in Ikoyi area of the state.
Obanikoro has been on the radar of EFCC for a while over his alleged role in the $2.1 billion arms scandal which rocked the office of the former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (retd).
He was alleged to have received N4.8 billion from Dasuki for the governorship election in Ekiti State, in 2014, which was won by his party’s candidate, Ayodele Fayose.
He was also believed to have received money for the 2015 presidential election as one of the South West coordinators for the bid of former President Goodluck Jonathan, who sought a second term.
Obanikoro left for the United States of America where he went to school and graduated recently.
The commission is currently investigating a company, Sylvan McNamara Limited, allegedly owned by the former minister’s two sons , Babajide and Gbolahan, which was alleged to have received N4.8 billion from the office of the embattled former National Security Adviser. The money was allegedly paid in tranches
EFCC claimed the payments to the company from Dasuki’s office were made without any contract. A source at EFCC confirmed yesterday’s search of the former minister’s Lagos home, but declined to reveal the nature of exhibits the commission was looking for.
He confirmed to Daily Sun in a telephone chat yesterday night that “our operatives searched the home of Senator Obanikoro. It was not a raid, it was a search of his house.”
On the nature of information or document the commission was looking for in the residence of the erstwhile Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate for Lagos state , the EFCC official refused to disclose. Instead, he said the commission was only “doing its job.”
Obanikoro had recently, in a statement, challenged EFCC to show a proof that the account where the N4.8 billion was paid into had anything to do with his son.
He challenged the anti-graft body to publish the names of the directors and signatories to the Sylvan McNamara Limited.
Meanwhile, EFCC has filed a 17-count charge against two former ministers and chieftains of the PDP, Femi Fani-Kayode and Senator Nenadi Usman.
Usman was former minister for finance and director of finance of the PDP presidential campaign in 2015, while Fani-Kayode was minister for Aviation and spokesperson for the campaign organisation.
Others charged alongside the duo before the Federal High Court, Lagos, are Danjuman Yussuf, Olubode Oke and Join Trust Dimensions Nigeria Limited. Count one of the charges preferred against the accused by EFCC stated: “That you, Nenadi Esther Usman, Femi Fani-Kayode, Danjuman Yusuf, Olubode Oke and Join Trust Dimensions Nigeria Limited, on or about the 8th day of January, 2015, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, conspired among yourselves to indirectly retain N1,500,000,000.00, which sum, you reasonably ought to have known, forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act to wit: stealing, and you, thereby, committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) and 4 of the same act.”
EFCC’s prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, who filed the charge, listed 17 witnesses, which included representatives of banks to testify against them. The case is yet to be assigned to a judge and a date for the hearing has not been fixed.
While Fani-Kayode was named in all 17 counts, Usman was named in only four of the charges.