Fayose’s trial: Court admits Obanikoro dead aide’s statement

The N2.2bn fraud trial of a former Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose resumed on Monday with the court admitting into evidence a statement made by one Mr Justin Erukaa, who worked as  Personal Assistant to Mr Musiliu Obanikoro, before his death.

In a short ruling, Justice Mojisola Olatoregun admitted Erukaa’s statement and marked it as Exhibit J.

The second defence counsel, Mr Olalekan Ojo (SAN), had at the previous hearing tendered the statement, which Erukaa made to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission  during  the course of investigating the alleged N2.2bn fraud against Fayose.

Ojo said Erukaa’s statement was relevant to the case, adding that it could be admitted in the absence of the deceased.

“In law, the first litmus test of admissibility is relevance. Obanikoro said in his testimony that he sent Erukaa on errands, including to collect $1m and he  meet him in Ekiti,” he  had told the court.

After the judge admitted Erukaa’s statement into evidence, the case proceeded with further cross-examination of Obanikoro, who is the fifth witness to testify for the EFCC against Fayose.

While fielding questions from Mr Ahmed Tafa, who stood in for Ojo, Obanikoro reiterated that he  had  farms in  Badagry, Lagos State,  and Ogun State.

He also confirmed knowing a company, MOB Integrated Limited.

“That company is owned by my son,” the former Minister of State for Defence said.

When asked by Tafa if he knew that MOB Integrated Limited workers were signatories to the bank account of Fayose’s co-accused, Sylvan Mcmanara Limited, Obanikoro said, “I don’t know what you are talking about.”

He explained again that  then-NSA, Sambo Dasuki, entered into an agreement with Taiwo Kareem, who owns Sylvan Mcmanara, to use the firm’s account for the disbursement of funds for security operations in Lagos.

Obanikoro said after the agreement with Kareem, he took over  Sylvan Mcmanara’s  account in supervisory capacity, adding that all the major decisions taken on the account were cleared with him.

But when Tafa asked if the Office of the National Security Adviser funded his campaign while he was vying for governorship on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, Obanikoro said, “Not to my knowledge.”

He said he had no records of his transactions with the NSA.

He, however, said he would not be surprised if the record of the NSA showed no N2.2bn transaction.

Justice Olatoregun adjourned further proceedings till Tuesday.

The EFCC on October 22, 2018 arraigned Fayose and Sylvan Mcmanara  on 11 counts bordering on criminal breach of trust, stealing and money laundering.
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