Revelations coming from a witness in the alleged diversion of that sum by former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, to Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State for the prosecution of the 2014 governor election in the state, said it took ten hours, and two aircraft over three flights, The Nation Newspaper reports this morning
Imagine what effort goes into loading 65 bags containing N1.2billion raw cash into a plane, our Source wonders
Head of Cash-In-Trust Service of Diamond Bank, Damola Otuyalo, said in a statement of oath to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC) that the money was first taken to the Ikeja Airport at dawn in 65 bags before being dispatched to Ekiti State via the Akure airport.
It was also gathered that the cash, which was originally released for six beneficiaries – Santuraki Bello (N200m); Yusuf Bulama (N120m); Chimenum Njoku (N250m); Josiah Moses (N280m); Abubakar Sadiq Zanna (N200m); and Franklin Tolani (N150m)- was diverted to Fayose by Obanikoro under the pretence that the six persons could not be located.
Otuyalo, in his oath, said:”On the N1.2billion, my director, Mr. Premier Oiwoh informed me about the payment on the 10th of June 2014. Cash was gathered together on the 17th of June and was taken to the location where I was told to take it to.
“The location was the private wing of the Lagos Airport and date was on the 17th of June 2014.
“We got to the private wing before 7am in the morning and left the airport at 4pm in the afternoon. The cash was bagged in cash bags totaling about 65 and everything was offloaded from the bullion van.
“What I mean by cash was gathered was that as part of routine of the unit, we normally evacuate branches that have excess cash and either move it to branches with low cash or move it to CBN or swap with other banks.
“The instruction, dated 16th of June 2014 was given to me where six beneficiaries were to be paid.
“The names of the beneficiaries were Santuraki Bello (N200m); Yusuf Bulama (N120m); Chimenum Njoku (N250m); Josiah Moses (N280m); Abubakar Sadiq Zanna (N200m); and Franklin Tolani (N150m).
“The above-named beneficiaries were not available to be paid as I did not see them. I was further directed by Mr. Premier Oiwoh to move the money to the airport where I will be given further instruction on who to pay.
“The cash was moved to the airport through the Cash-In-Transit vendor, Benters Warehouse Limited (BWL). I contacted the vendor, who made the bullion vehicle available for the movement.
“I personally supervised the loading of the money into the bullion van and escorted the money to the airport. I was in my vehicle while the bullion van was also escorted by the police.
“As at the time I left the banking premises, I did not sight the beneficiaries.”
Otuyalo confirmed an earlier report by The Nation that they were disallowed access to the security gate at the reserved wing at the airport.
He, however, said Gbolahan Obanikoro, son of the ex-Minister, cleared them at the airport gate.
The banker added:”When we got to the gate, we were not allowed in as we did not have any pass. However, Gbolahan Obanikoro came, he cleared us and we moved in.
“I identified Gbolahan Obanikoro while my boss, Premier Oiwoh, called me on the phone that Gbolahan was around. He spoke to Gbolahan through my phone and the phone was also handed back to me where it was confirmed that that was the beneficiary to pay the money to.
“Besides this, politicians are really not hidden from the public. So, I was also able to recognise him apart from my boss’s confirmation.
“When we eventually gained entrance into the private wing, Mr. Musiliu Obanikoro came in with two armed policemen and a few friends and cash was offloaded into the first aircraft which flew him out of the airport.
“The aircraft later came back and the second batch of money was also offloaded into the aircraft from the bullion van.
“As the second aircraft could not also contain the remaining amount due to the size of the aircraft and weight it can carry.
“I recall that another aircraft was also used to move the final batch of the money from the bullion van.
“The second and third movements were supervised by Gbolahan Obanikoro as his father had left with the first aircraft.
“I got back to my boss, Premier Oiwoh, that the assignment was concluded and he said okay.”
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