A former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, has returned a fresh sum of N30m to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, with a promise to pay a balance of N417m, The PUNCH can confirm.
Calculations by our correspondent showed that the former minister has now returned N167m to the Federal Government.
A reliable source told our correspondent that the former minister paid the money from his Diamond Bank account to the EFCC Recovered Funds Account.
The source stated, “I can confirm that Senator Obanikoro has been meeting up his part of the agreement. You will recall that last year, he promised to return a certain amount of money every quarter.
“He has made a payment of N30m, his first instalment in 2017. He is also reporting at the EFCC as he should.”
The ex-minister, who returned to Nigeria in October 2016, after spending about 15 months in the United States, was accused of receiving N4.7bn from the Office of the National Security Adviser under the leadership of Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.).
Obanikoro had said in his statement of oath at the EFCC that after receiving the money in 2014, he gave N1.219bn to the then governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, while N1.3bn was given to the PDP governorship candidate in Osun State, Senator Iyiola Omisore.
He also confessed to giving Fayose a separate $5.377m at Spotless Hotel in Ekiti State in the presence of party stalwarts, including the then PDP state secretary, Mr. Tope Aluko.
Obanikoro was said to have kept about N785m for himself, which he allegedly spent while campaigning ahead of the PDP governorship primary in Lagos State, which Mr. Jimi Agbaje won.
However, the EFCC asked him to return about N584m, out of which he has returned N167m.
At the Federal High Court in Abuja, presided over by Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, Mr. Alade Sunday, a manager at Zenith Bank, narrated how Obanikoro delivered about N1.219bn to Fayose’s aide, Abiodun Agbele, for onward transmission to Fayose.
He had added that it took the cashiers about 10 days to count all the money.
Sunday had said Obanikoro flew the cash to Akure airport and the money was loaded onto bullion vans.
“When we got to the airport, we waited for some minutes before the aircraft arrived. When the aircraft offloaded its passengers, one of them appeared to me to be Senator Musiliu Obanikoro and the other one appeared to be his ADC, Adewale.
“Agbele walked up to them and had a discussion with them. Thereafter, he signalled to me to bring the van. Bags loaded with cash were loaded into the van and Obanikoro’s ADC, I and Agbele drove back to the bank,” he had stated.