Obanikoro agrees to testify against Fayose over alleged N4.7bn fraud.

A former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, was at the Abuja office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Monday where he agreed to testify against Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State and his aide, Mr. Abiodun Agbele.

A reliable source said, “Senator Obanikoro came to the EFCC office on Monday morning as part of investigations into the N4.7bn. Since he has confessed that he was the one who collected the N4.7bn and distributed it, he is in the best position to testify in court.

“The EFCC wants him to testify against Agbele which will also build a strong case against Fayose who currently enjoys immunity. Obanikoro has agreed and will be listed as one of the EFCC witnesses.

“If Agbele is convicted, it automatically means that Fayose will also be convicted once he is charged in 2018. So let Fayose continue to play games. Omisore and Obanikoro are cooperating and returning money. Their troubles will end soon while Fayose’s own will keep getting worse.”

When contacted, Obanikoro’s lawyer, Mr. James Onoja (SAN), said he was not aware that his client was with the EFCC but promised to find out.

“I have been in court all day so I was not aware that he (Obanikoro) was with the EFCC. I will find out,” he said.

However, a source said that the EFCC could still charge Obanikoro to court if he failed to cooperate with the EFCC.

He said, “Obanikoro has returned N104m and has pledged to return N480m in instalments every four months but if he cannot cooperate with the EFCC, then he and his sons may be charged along with the others.

“Plea bargain and negotiation are a standard practice in criminal justice across the world.”

Obanikoro had told the EFCC in his statement of oath that he received N4.7bn from the Office of the National Security Adviser under the leadership of Col. Sambo Dasuki in June 2014.

In his statement, the ex-minister told the EFCC that he handed N1.3bn to the then governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in Osun State, Senator Iyiola Omisore; while N1.219bn was given to Fayose through his aide, Agbele, during the build-up to the Ekiti governorship election which Fayose won.

Obanikoro was said to have converted a remainder of the money into $5.377m and handed it to Fayose at Spotless Hotel, Ado Ekiti, in the presence of the then Ekiti State PDP Secretary, Tope Aluko, and other party stalwarts.

The ex-minister is believed to have kept about N785m for himself, an action which is said to have angered Fayose.

Agbele is currently standing trial before Justice Dimgba Igwe of a Federal High Court for allegedly receiving N1.219bn on behalf of Fayose.

At the last sitting, Mr. Alade Sunday, a manager and branch Head of Zenith Bank, narrated how the money was disbursed on the instructions of Agbele.

He had also said 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 a bullion van.

He had said, “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, Agbele and I drove back to the bank.

“When we got to the bank, we ‘bundle counted’ the cash and it was N724,500,000. Agbele told us that more money was still coming and then, Obanikoro’s ADC left for the airport immediately.

“In the evening, all of us left for the airport a second time. After the passengers disembarked, we offloaded the cash bags into our bullion van and drove back to the bank to ascertain how much the cash was. The second tranche was N494,990,000, bringing the total to about N1.219, 490,000.

“We headed straight to our zonal head office where instructions were given by Agbele on how the funds were to be credited to various accounts.”

Sex Scandal: U.S. Ambassador To Testify At House Thursday

United States Ambassador James Entwistle is expected to testify before the House of Representatives panel probing the allegation of sexual misconduct against three lawmakers on Thursday

The lawmakers- Mohammed Garba Gololo, Samuel Ikon, and Mark Gbillah – were accused of sexual impropriety while on a training programme in Cleveland, Ohio, United States between April 7 and 13.

The ambassador blew the lid on the scandal in a June 9 letter to Speaker Yakubu Dogara. He said the members brought disrepute to the parliament by soliciting for sex from prostitutes and one of them grabbed a hotel housekeeper in a bid to rape her.

While Dogara insisted that unless evidence is provided, the onus of proof is with those making the allegations as the lawmakers are legally presumed innocent.

On June 21, the House during plenary mandated its joint committees to investigate the allegations. The committees are: Ethics and Privileges, and Foreign Affairs.

The invitation for the ambassador to appear before the committee today was moved till Thursday on the request of the embassy.

The Speaker said no evidence had been forwarded to his office apart from the letter, and that there can be no conviction without a trial.

“Together with the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria, we will get to the bottom of this matter”, he said.

Sources said yesterday that Entwistle may shock members by providing video evidence of the alleged misdeeds based on the continuous denials of the three members and the posture of the House that the Ambassador must show proof. But this information could not be independently confirmed.

Others expected to appear before the probe panel are : Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyema; Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, the three accused lawmakers and seven other lawmakers that attended the leadership Programme.

Chairman of the House Committee on Ethics and Privileges, Ossai Nicholas Ossai, said yesterday the committee decided not to extend the invitation to the hotel management.

Credit: TheNation

Alleged Bribe: Otedola To Testify Against Farouk Lawan

Billionaire businessman, Mr. Femi Otedola, has been scheduled to appear as a prosecution witness before a Federal Capital Territory High Court in Lugbe, Abuja, in the ongoing trial of a former Chairman, House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy, Mr. Farouk Lawan, for alleged bribery.

The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission is prosecuting Lawan for allegedly “corruptly” collecting $500,000 out of the $3m bribe he requested from Otedola in exchange for the removal of the businessman’s company’s name from the list of firms indicted by the House committee for allegedly abusing the fuel subsidy regime in 2012.

The presiding judge, Justice Angela Otakula, on Tuesday adjourned the case till March 7 and 8 to enable the first prosecution witness, Mr. Boniface Emenalo, who was then secretary to the Lawan-led committee, to conclude his evidence.

Otedola, the chairman of Zenon Petroleum and Gas Limited, is expected to appear in court as the second prosecution witness on either of the two days, depending on how soon Emenalo concludes his own part.

Otedola was initially scheduled to testify against Lawan on February 2, but the businessman, who was somewhere within the court premises during the proceedings, was said to have taken his leave when it was clear that Emenalo was going to stay much longer in the witness box.

Credit: Punch

David Mark To Testify At Election Tribunal

Former Senate President David Mark is set to give evidence in a case challenging his declaration as winner of the Benue South Senatorial election, as an election tribunal sitting in Makurdi adjourns.

The National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal on Thursday fixed the date of Senator Mark’s appearance as August 18, for his cross-examination in the case brought by Daniel Onjeh of the APC.

Mark’s only opponent in the election, Onjeh had alleged that the results were marred by electoral malpractices and significant breaches of the Electoral Act 2011 as amended. He further asserted that INEC officials were compromised in the process, and voters were subject to financial inducements by PDP agents at various polling units in the district.

Read More: dailytimes

Osun Judge Ready To Testify Against Aregbesola- Speaker

The Speaker of Osun State House of Assembly, Mr. Najeem Salaam, said on Thursday that Justice Folahanmi Oloyede, who wrote a petition calling for the impeachment of Governor Rauf Aregbesola, has expressed her readiness to defend her allegations against the governor.

The Speaker said this in a statement made available to our correspondent in Osogbo through his media aide, Mr. Goke Butika.

The Speaker, who is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress just like the governor stated that the Assembly had written to Aregbesola demanding his response to the allegations leveled against him by the petitioner.

He said, “The onus of proof lies on the petitioner who has expressed her readiness to defend her allegations before the parliamentarians, while Gov. Aregbesola’s response would also be awaited for the sake of fair hearing…”

Read More: punchng

Dokpesi, Others To Testify In Tinubu’s N150bn Libel Suit Against AIT

Hearing in the N150 billion libel suit filed against DAAR Communications by a national leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Tinubu, has been fixed for May 27.

Raymond Dokpesi, the Chairman of the broadcast outfit, is one of the witnesses to testify at the resumed hearing of the suit.

Others listed to testify against Mr. Tinubu are Namure Edoimioya, Medan Tenke, Ajibola Adewusi, Olumide Idowu, Stanley Odidi, Nwabueze and Stanley Bassey.

Mr. Tinubu had instituted the N150 billion suit against Daar Communications Plc, owners of AIT, over the documentary titled “Lion of Bourdilion’’.

He had alleged that the documentary which the station started airing on March 1, was libellous and aimed at tarnishing his image.

However, in a counter-claim filed by AIT on Tuesday, the defendant denied the allegations as contained in the claimant’s amended statement of claim.

Mr. Dokpesi, in his statement on oath, said that Mr. Tinubu’s claim was founded on a non- existent ground because the said documentary was not titled “The Lion of Bourdilon”, but “Unmasking the Real Tinubu”.

He also said that the documentary, in his honest opinion, was not false and was not aired out of malice to the person of the claimant.

Mr. Dokpesi said AIT, as a member of the fourth estate of the realm, was empowered by Section 22 of the Constitution to at all times, hold those in government accountable and responsible to the people of Nigeria.

He further averred that the contents of the documentary were facts which had been in the public domain for over two decades.

According to him, these were published independently prior to the broadcast and had remained unchallenged till date.

Justice Iyabo Akinkugbe of an Ikeja High Court has fixed hearing till May 27.

Credit: NAN

Brother Of Man Billed To Testify At Rivers Inquiry Kidnapped

Some unknown men have kidnapped the brother of Israel Okirie who is billed to appear before the Rivers State Commission of Inquiry probing politically-motivated killings and destruction of properties before and during the 2015 general elections.

Mr. Okirie had petitioned the Commission on April 24 concerning killings in Omoku, ONELGA (Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni LGA) in the state.

It was gathered that the kidnappers warned Mr. Okirie not to appear before the Inquiry under any circumstances.

Human rights and civil society activists had on Tuesday condemned the move by the Peoples Democratic Party to halt the proceedings of the Commission.

All the activists who spoke to this newspaper  described the party’s action as “disappointing” and an indication that it has something to hide.

On Monday, Emmanuel Aguma, a counsel to the PDP, had announced that the party was boycotting the commission.

Presenting an interim order from a Federal High Court restraining the commission from sitting, he announced that taking part in the inquiry would amount to flouting the order of the court. “I wouldn’t want to be a part of a process that does not obey the rule of law, so I’m bringing your attention to this. It is the duty of the panel to obey the court,” Mr Aguma said.

The head of the commission, Chidi Odinkalu, however resisted the move to stop the sitting. He argued that the panel was not served the order and fixed Wednesday for the commission to hear counsel’s arguments and consider legal authorities on the issue.

Detail On: premiumtimesng