Arms Scam: Obanikoro’s Wife Loses Abuja Mansion To FG

A Federal Capital Territory High Court, sitting in Jabi, Abuja, has
ordered that Alhaja Moroophat Obanikoro, the wife of a former Minister
of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, should forfeit her
property pending the outcome of investigations into her husband and
children.

The court also rejected a prayer asking the Economic
and Financial Crimes Commission to pay her the sum of N200m for
violating her fundamental human rights.

Obanikoro’s wife has, however, headed for the Appeal Court to challenge the court judgment.

As part of investigations into the $2.1bn arms scam, involving the
Office of the National Security Adviser, the EFCC had traced the
transfer of about N4.7bn to the Diamond Bank account of Sylvan McNamara,
a company allegedly owned by Obanikoro’s two sons – Gbolahan and
Babajide.

Out of the N4.7bn, Obanikoro allegedly gave N3.880bn to
Ayodele Fayose and Senator Iyiola Omisore in July 2014, when they were
the Peoples Democratic Party governorship candidates in Ekiti and Osun
states respectively.

Part of the money allegedly given to Fayose
was said to have been converted to $5.377m and handed to him at Spotless
Hotel, Ado-Ekiti, in the presence of the then Ekiti State PDP
Secretary, Tope Aluko, and other party stalwarts.

Obanikoro allegedly kept over N600m to himself.

The
EFCC subsequently seized a house in the Ikoyi area of Lagos State
allegedly belonging to Obanikoro’s sons – Gbolahan and Babajide – and a
property located at 44 Mamman Kotangora Crescent, Katampke Extension,
Abuja, belonging to their mother.

However, Obanikoro’s wife argued that she bought the property over seven years before the alleged arms scam took place.

She
said the EFCC had no right to punish her for any crime allegedly
committed by her husband and urged the court to award her N200m.

Obanikoro’s
wife demanded “an order setting aside the sealing of the property; an
order directing the EFCC to tender an unreserved public apology for the
unlawful and unconditional invasion of the aforesaid property and the
sum of N200,000,000 as general damages for the unlawful and
unconstitutional invasion of the property.”

In an affidavit,
deposed to by one Jackson Edet, the EFCC claimed that Obanikoro’s wife
could not claim to be ignorant of her husband’s alleged crime.

The commission said Moroophat’s husband and her sons collected over N600m from the ONSA for a non-existent contract.

The
EFCC argued that investigation had shown that, “the property belongs to
Musiliu Obanikoro and he paid for the statutory charges for the
property.”

The commission added, “That a lawyer, Tejumola
Adeboye, who volunteered a statement to the commission, stated that he
managed the said property and remits the rent to MON Integrated Services
(a company allegedly owned by Obanikoro, which is also under probe).”

In
his ruling, the Justice Y. Halilu said he could not stop the EFCC from
doing its work, adding that all Nigerians must unite in the fight
against corruption.

He added, “I shall refuse the application
because it is most unmeritorious and specially packaged to deceive this
court. God forbid.”

Punch