Diverted N1.2bn Was for Ekiti Security, Not Election Funds -Witness

Aliyu Muhammed Abdulmukadaddas, 14th prosecution witness, PW14 in the trial of Abiodun Agbele, ex-aide of former governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, on Tuesday, March 12, 2024 told Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court, Maitama, Abuja, that the sum of N1,219,000,000.00 (One Billion, Two Hundred and Nineteen Million Naira) transferred by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) from the account of the Office of National Security Adviser (ONSA) under Colonel Sambo Dasuki was to address security matters in Ekiti State and not to finance elections.

Led in his testimony by prosecution counsel Wahab Shittu, SAN, Abdulmukadaddas, a retired staff of the CBN who posted the money disclosed that he was familiar with Sylvan McNamara Nigeria Limited’s Diamond Bank account 0026223114 where the lodgment was made.

“We have paid N200 million to the company through a Diamond Bank account. We have paid N200billion to the company, N700million, N100billion, N255million to 0026223114 Diamond Bank account among other payments,” he said.

Under cross-examination by defence counsel, Olalekan Ojo, SAN, the witness disclosed that the CBN verifies payments before lodgment is made. “All the payment has to be verified, and the verification is on the receiving account, and we must verify if it is okay before posting, and in this case it was okay, that was why we posted.”

Agbele is standing trial on 24 amended charges bordering on money laundering to the tune of N1.219 billion paid into the Diamond Bank account of Sylvan Mcnamara Ltd.

Former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, had on Wednesday, November 29, 2023, told Justice Dimgba that the Sylvan Mcnamara Ltd Diamond Bank account 0026223114 was created by one Taiwo Kareem for warehousing funds to deal with the issue of Boko Haram in Lagos, however, the lodgments into the account were allegedly spent on electoral matters by Fayose with the aid of Agbele.

An earlier witness and former CEO of Zenith Bank, Peter Amangbo informed the court while being cross- examined by Ojo that the airlifting of the N1.219 billion cash from Lagos Airport to Akure Airport and to Zenith Bank Akure was based on the instructions of the management of the bank.

Justice Dimgba adjourned the matter till May 2 and 3, 2024 for continuation of trial.