The Task Force investigating the alleged diversion of $2.1bn meant for arms procurement under the immediate past administration of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has embarked on a discrete investigation into the former Minister of State for Defence, Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro.
It was gathered that the team of EFCC investigators had traced the sum of N4.75bn to the account of Silva McNamara Limited with Diamond Bank with links to the family of the former minister.
A top operative of the commission, who confided in our correspondent, said that the company had two sons of the former minister on its board.
The names of the relatives on the company’s board are Gbolahan Obanikoro and Babajide Obanikoro.
It was stated that the duo were on the board of the company till 2014 when one Olalekan Ogunseye became the sole signatory to the company’s account.
Investigations revealed that the funds were paid into the McNamara account from the Central Bank of Nigeria Imprest Account of the National Security adviser between June 6, 2014 and December, 12, 2015.
The breakdown of the lodgements of funds into the account during the six months period revealed that N200m was paid into the account on June 6, 2014; N2bn on June 16, 2014; N60m on July 6, 2014 and N7, 000m on July 7, 2014.
Other lodgements into the account within the period include the payment of N1bn on July 30, 2014; N160m on August 8, 2014; N225m on August 22, 2014; N200m on November, 14, 2014 and N200m on December, 5, 2014.
The source said that the commission was probing the payment of N4.75bn to McNamara because the funds were released without any contractual evidence.
It was however stated that Obanikoro’s name was not found in the transactions as he was not on the board of the company.
It was stated that efforts are being made to unravel the mystery behind the payment of the large amount of money to the company which has two of his sons as members of the board of directors.
Our correspondent could not get the Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, to comment on the story as the calls to his mobile telephone line did not connect.
In his response, however, a media aide to Obanikoro, Mr. Jonathan Eze, denied allegations that the former minister was involved in any fraud.
He said all the allegations were mere speculations and urged members of the public to treat them as such.
He said, “As far as Senator Obanikoro is concerned, these are mere allegations that have not been proven and can never be proved. The former minister insists that his children were never directors at the company and were never signatories.
“These allegations are the handiwork of Sahara Reporters and I have taken them to court. Very soon, the truth will be made known but I urge members of the public not to believe these allegations. Senator Obanikoro’s children are victims of cheap politics but the truth will be revealed.”