Former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, will be made to account for the N4.7 billion traced to firms linked to him, if he is found to be culpable, a top source in the commission, said last night.
The source, who spoke in confidence, pointed out that the case of the former minister, who is in the commission’s custody, would be treated strictly on its merit, contrary to insinuations that the agency ferried him into the country to be used as a prosecution witness against other suspects in the $2.1 billion arms cash.
“Let me make it clear that we did not bring the man from the United States of America to be used as a witness against any of the suspects we are investigating in respect of the $2.1 billion arms cash scandal. “No two cases we are investigating are the same and it must be made clear that Obanikoro’s case has nothing to do with any other person being investigated by the commission. The truth of the matter is that we are just beginning the investigation of Obanikoro and evidence adduced from the probe will determine our next move against him.
“But let it be made known that if evidence establishes that he committed the suspected financial crime, we will immediately charge him to court to show that we have no support whatsoever for corruption no matter who is involved.”
The official, who was responding to allegation by Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose, that Obanikoro was brought in from the U.S to nail him, pointed out that the commission did not intend to use the former minister for any trial.
“The former minister has a serious case of fraud hanging on his shoulders and we were about to declare him wanted after raiding his home and he still did not show up. “We immediately took him for questioning as soon as he reported to the commission and his case would be determined by the evidence before us.
“Those who are making such claim have forgotten that the case against Dasuki is different from that of Obanikoro. We cannot use one suspect for another and vice versa. Each case is unique in itself and the suspects must answer for their respective offences,” the source said.
The arrival of Obanikoro in Nigeria last Monday and the evidence he has given so far , has rattled Governor Fayose, who claimed last week that it was the EFCC, which arranged his visit to Nigeria deliberately to nail him. In his statement to the EFCC, Obanikoro admitted giving Fayose N2.23 billion and $5,377,000 in cash while his associate, Mr. Abiodun Agbele, got N1.3 billion. Obanikoro admitted that the N1.3 billion was flown to Akure airport in two chartered flights for delivery to Agbele.
The former minister said he also gave N1.7 billion to a former Osun Deputy Governor, Senator Iyiola Omisore, but did not say what the money was meant for. The money was sourced from the $2.1billion meant for arms purchase at the ONSA. But Fayose has spit fire over Obanikoro’s revelations and accused the EFCC of bringing him from the U.S. under an arrangement to give him a ‘soft landing’ and use him to nail him (Fayose) and others named in the arms scam.