Obanikoro linked to Diezani’s N400m poll sluch cash in fresh EFCC probe

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A former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, who was recently granted administrative bail by the anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has been allegedly fingered in a new N400m scam.

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Highly placed EFCC sources said on Sunday that Obanikoro might be invited again soon to explain his alleged role in the scam.

The ex-minister, who returned from the United States on October 17, spent three weeks at the Abuja office of the EFCC for allegedly receiving N4.7bn from the Office of the National Security Adviser and distributing over N3bn to Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State and Senator Iyiola Omisore, who were the governorship candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ekiti and Osun states respectively in 2014.

Obanikoro subsequently returned N100m to the EFCC with a promise to return another N480m with his American and Nigerian passports seized before his release last Friday.

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An EFCC detective on Sunday said that recent investigations showed that Obanikoro allegedly received N400m from a former Minister of Finance, Senator Nenadi Usman, who was the Director of Finance of the Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation during the build-up to the 2015 elections.

The source said sometime in 2015, Usman sent the money to Obanikoro through a proxy.

The detective said, “As part of investigations into the billions disbursed by Nenadi Usman during the build-up to the 2015 elections, we interrogated a suspect at our office. The suspect told us that he handed over N400m to Obanikoro in the presence of some PDP members.

“So, Obanikoro will be invited to the Lagos office of the EFCC to tell his own side of the story.”

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The EFCC had alleged in March that about N3.145bn was mysteriously transferred from the account of the ONSA, domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria, to the account of Joint Trust Dimensions Limited, a company allegedly owned by Usman.

Usman was said to have transferred N840m to the account of the Director of Publicity of the organisation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, in Zenith Bank on February 19, 2015, while she allegedly gave a former finance minister, Chief Olu Falae, N100m on the instruction of a PDP stalwart, Chief Anthony Anenih.

A former Governor of Imo State, Achike Udenwa, and a former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Viola Onwuliri, according to the documents, got N350m in two tranches.

The first tranche of N150m was allegedly paid into their joint account with Zenith Bank on January 13, 2015. The second tranche of N200m was credited into their account with Diamond bank.

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Usman and Fani-Kayode have since been arraigned before the Federal High Court in Lagos and their accounts frozen while Udenwa and Falae may be arraigned soon.

Apart from the ONSA fund, Usman allegedly disbursed a separate N23bn to various states during the build-up to the elections.

The money Usman disbursed allegedly emanated from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.

The money, which was $115m but converted to N23bn, was alleged to have been kickbacks from some dubious oil contractors involved in oil theft.

The EFCC has, so far, grilled about 16 former governors and ministers over the alleged N23bn Diezani sleaze.

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