Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja
A bullion van driver has confessed to conveying the N1.219bn, which the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission alleged was delivered to the Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, in the build-up to the June 2014 governorship election in the state, which Fayose won.
Fayose is being investigated by the EFCC for allegedly receiving the N1.219bn through the Office of the National Security Adviser for his campaign in 2014, an amount said to be part of the N4.7bn allegedly diverted from the ONSA under Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.).
EFCC investigations had revealed that the N4.7bn was paid into a bank account of Sylvan McNamara, a company in which the sons of a former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, are said to be directors.
About N1.219bn was allegedly flown to Akure on a private plane during the build-up to the Ekiti State governorship election.
Fayose was alleged to have received the N1.219bn through his bosom friend, Abiodun Agbele.
The bullion van driver, Mr. Olaoluwa Omotoso, reportedly drove the bullion van to the Akure airport tarmac on June 17, 2014, to transport the N1.219bn allegedly flown from Lagos by Obanikoro.
Omotoso told EFCC detectives that he made two separate trips to the airport because of the large volume of cash.
The driver told the anti-graft agency that part of the money was taken to a bank in Alagbaka, Akure, on the instruction of Fayose’s friend, Agbele, while the remaining money was taken to Spotless Hotel, Ado Ekiti, which is owned by Fayose and his wife, Feyisetan.
A detective in the commission, who spoke to our correspondent on Thursday, said, “Omotoso explained that on June 17, 2014, he was given a directive to go to the Akure airport to convey some funds. He said he went to the airport twice to move the money. He said some of the money was taken to a bank while he, along with Agbele, moved the remaining cash to Spotless Hotel, Ado Ekiti.
“He said the money was moved in three vehicles, including one bullion van and two Toyota Hilux vans. The two Toyota Hilux vans had some soldiers inside for security while Agbele was with him in the Hilux van.
“He said he did not know exactly how much was conveyed. He explained that Agbele held the keys to the vault in the bullion van. On getting to Spotless Hotel at night, they offloaded the cash and Agbele entered the vehicle to search and ensure that no money was left behind. Agbele then returned the keys and Omotoso drove off.”
Meanwhile, the Managing Director of Zenith Bank, Mr. Peter Amangbo, has denied that the bank sponsored the governorship campaign of Fayose in 2014, contrary to the governor’s claim.
Amangbo told the EFCC that the bank had only one branch in Ekiti State, wondering why the bank would invest in Fayose when the state government had no account with the bank.
Fayose had claimed that his campaign was funded by the bank and a few private individuals.
The bank MD said at no time did he hold a meeting with Fayose and his friend, Agbele.
A source at the EFCC stated that Amangbo said at no time did he meet with Abiodun Agbele or any representative of Fayose. He said the allegation that the bank funded the Ekiti State governorship election was false.
“He further stated that at no time did Fayose and the chairman of the bank, Mr. Jim Ovia, and himself hold a meeting.
“He said the bank, as a matter of policy, did not sponsor political groups or elections.”