I Handed Over N1.2bn to Obanikoro – Bank Official Tells EFCC
A bank official, Damola Otuyalo, has told officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) 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.