A former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, has said it was ‘reluctantly’ that he refunded to the Federal Government the sum of the N 200 million from the N 4.6 billion transferred into his account by former National Security Adviser Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd).
Obanikoro said this before the Federal High Court in Lagos where he is testifying against a former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, who was charged with N2.2bn fraud by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC).
The EFCC accused Fayose of taking N2.2bn from Dasuki for his governorship election in 2012. The money was channeled through Obanikoro.
Expressing surprise the Federal Government tagged the money spent by the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, on secret security operations as “illicit”, the former Minister said he had been under investigations by the EFCC since 2016 as a result of a petition against him by Dasuki’s successor, General Babagana Monguno (rtd.).
Obanikoro said Monguno’s petition against him was on the allegation that he failed to properly document the use of a sum of N4.6bn transferred to an account operated by him.
He, however, stated that it was not a standard practice to keep record of secret security operations.
Obanikoro added that in the course of being investigated by the EFCC based on Monguno’s petition, he had had to “reluctantly” made a refund of N200m to the Federal Government.
While being cross-examined on Tuesday by one of the defence counsel, Mr Olalekan Ojo (SAN), Obanikoro said, “The NSA coordinates all the security agencies. Some of their operations are clandestine and are usually not documented.
“It bothers me that clandestine operations of the NSA are described as illicit. It should worry every Nigeria. I am surprised that the current NSA can characterise the funds as illicit.
“The local Joint Task Force on Boko Haram is still being funded by the NSA and the operation started under our watch.”
Obanikoro insisted that the money which Dasuki asked him to deliver to Fayose in 2014 was not from an illicit source.
He noted that the money was transferred on Dasuki’s instructions into the bank account of a firm, Sylvan Mcnamara.
When the defence counsel asked him if he was aware two of his children were signatories to Sylvan Mcnamara’s account, Obanikoro said, “Yes, they were signatories to the account prior to the operation in 2014.
“My children have relationship with the company. I also have relationship with the company.”