A prosecution witness yesterday told the Federal High Court in Lagos how three aircraft flew N1.2billion from Lagos to Ekiti State for delivery to former Governor Ayo Fayose.
Danmola Otuyena, a banker, was testifying in Fayose’s trial for allegedly receiving and keeping N1.2billion and $5million said to have been stolen from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), contrary to the Money Laundering Act.
Otuyena, who headed his bank’s Cash in Transit Services Unit when the transaction occurred, said he accompanied the bullion van that took the cash to the airport.
He was the fourth prosecution witness and was led in evidence by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) lawyer, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN).
The witness gave evidence on the bank account of Sylvan Mcnamara Limited and how cash was withdrawn from it on the instructions of former Minister of Defence (State) Musiliu Obanikoro on June 16 and 17, 2014.
The witness also revealed that although Obanikoro operated the account and was the known holder, he was not the official signatory to it nor was he a director to the company in whose name the account was opened.
Otuyena said he got instructions from his boss to get the cash ready for movement to Ekiti.
“My director gave further instructions that we should move the cash to the airport. We contacted the cash in transit company that renders bullion services – Bankers Warehouse Ltd – and the cash was moved to the private wing of Murtala Mohammed Airport.
“We could not get access when we got there, so we waited outside. My director said someone would be there to attend to us.
“He spoke to a certain Gbolahan Obanikoro through my phone. He helped to process a pass and we were able to enter the airport – the bullion van and myself.
“Later, Musiliu Obanikoro came. My boss called me and spoke to him through my phone and said we should give him the cash. The cash was given to him.
“We loaded the bags of cash into the aircraft. About two or three aircraft were used to load the cash.
“My director, Premier Oyiwo, having identified Obanikoro, said I should release the cash to him. When we pay cash to beneficiaries, they sign off for collection. Obanikoro signed off for collection,” the witness said.
Asked how the cash was packed, Otuyena said: “We have bags designed in a standard way in the banking industry. We used them to package the money. We call them jumbo bags. We used the biggest sizes to pack the money. We used jumbo bags for the N1.2billion.”