"I Gave N1.2bn To Obanikoro" - Bank Official Tells EFCC


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An official of Diamond Bank,
Damola Otuyalo, has told officials
of the Economic and Financial
Crimes Commission that he
personally handed over N1.2bn
to a former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu
Obanikoro, and his son,
Gbolahan.
The entire exercise was said to
have been captured on a Closed
Circuit Television. According to the EFCC, the
N1.2bn was part of the N4.7bn
paid into the company account
of Obanikoro’s sons by the Office
of the National Security Adviser
during the build-up to the Ekiti and Osun states governorship
election in 2014.
Otuyalo, who is the Head of
Cash-in-Transit Services, told
detectives that his duty was to
evacuate excess cash from bank’s branches and move it to
locations where money was
needed.
The bank official told
investigators that on June 16,
2014, he received a call from the Head of Operations and
Technology, Mr. Premier Oiwoh,
to arrange N1.2bn and pay six
beneficiaries.
He said he was asked to pay the
following persons: Saturaki Bello N200m; Yusuf Bulama N120m;
Chimenum Njoku N250m;
Franklin Tolani N150m; Josiah
Moses N280; and Abubakar
Sadiq Zanna N200m.
Otuyalo, however, explained that he was unable to pay them
the money and that his director
then instructed him to move the
N1.2bn to the private wing of
the Murtala Muhammed Airport,
Lagos on June 17. The bank official was quoted to
have said, “The beneficiaries
were not available to be paid as I
did not see them and I was later
directed by Mr. Premier Oiwoh to
move the money to the airport where I will be given further
instruction.
“We moved the cash to the
airport through the Cash-In-
Transit vendor, Bankers
Warehouse Limited. I contacted the vendor who made the
bullion van available for
movement. I personally
supervised the loading of the
money into the bullion van and
escorted them to the airport.” Otuyalo said on getting to the
airport around 7am, he was not
allowed into the private wing
because he and the security
detail did not have a gate pass.
He said a few minutes later, Obanikoro’s son came to the
main gate and asked the security
to let the bullion van in.
The bank official further stated,
“When Gbolahan got to the gate,
he cleared us and we drove in. My boss, Mr. Premier Oiwoh,
called me on the telephone and
confirmed to me that Obanikoro
was the beneficiary of the
money.
“I handed my phone over to Gbolahan and he spoke to my
boss. Obanikoro came to meet
us at the private wing with two
policemen and some friends. I
recognised Obanikoro very well
because he is popular.” Otuyalo told detectives that due
to the large amount of money
involved, it took them several
hours to offload the cash unto
the aeroplane.
He explained that it took three aeroplanes to carry all the
money.
Otuyalo added, “We loaded the
first aircraft with money and
Obanikoro flew with his friends
on the first flight. The second aircraft was loaded with money
but it could not carry all the cash
due to the size of the aircraft and
the weight it could 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 after Obanikoro had
left with the first flight.
“The operation took several hours because we got to the
airport around 7am and left
around 4pm. The cash was
bagged in cash bags totalling
about 65 and everything was
offloaded from the bullion van after which I reported to my
boss, Mr. Oiwoh.”
Detectives told our
correspondent that the N1.2bn
was flown to Akure Airport and
Obanikoro allegedly handed over the money to an associate
of Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele
Fayose, Mr. Abiodun Agbele,
who had since been detained by
the EFCC.
He added that Officials of Zenith Bank arrived at the Akure
Airport tarmac in a bullion van to
convey all the cash to the bank’s
vault located at 13, Alagbaka
Estate, Akure.
He also said that the detective, who presented bank tellers,
added that Agbele gave the
bank instructions at different
times to pay in money into
Fayose’s Zenith Bank account
even after the elections. He added, “Agbele directed the
bank to pay N137m into the
account of Ayodele Fayose with
number 1003126654 and Bank
Verification Number
22338867502. The bank teller dated June 26, 2014, was filled
by Agbele with teller number
0556814.
“Agbele directed the bank to
transfer N118, 760, 000 to the
same account and paid in N50m cash into Fayose’s account.
“On April 7, 2015, several
months later, Fayose personally
moved N300m to his fixed
deposit account at Zenith Bank
with number 9013074033 with his same BVN. The account is
domiciled at 15 Olusola Abiona
Street, Estate, Alapere, Ketu,
Lagos.”
The source added that on the
instruction of Fayose, Agbele deposited N100m to the account
of Spotless Investment Limited, a
hotel which is owned by Fayose
and his wife, Olayemi.
Fayose allegedly used part of the
money to buy houses in Abuja and Lagos. The houses had since
been seized while his bank
account with a balance of
N380m was frozen.
Both Fayose and Obanikoro
have denied the allegations levelled against them.
One of Obanikoro’s media aides,
Mr. Jonathan Eze, told one of our
correspondents on Saturday that
he was driving and would call
back. He was yet to do so as of press time.
When contacted, Head, Media
Relations/Corporate
Communications of Diamond
Bank, Mr. Mike Omeife, told one
of our correspondents that he could not confirm the report.
He said, “I have not been able to
confirm from the unit what he
(Otuyalo) said. I need to get the
information from the unit; I need
to get clarifications, and will then, get back to you.
“This is weekend. I need to get
authentic information from the
unit before speaking to you.”

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