The ongoing trial of the former Chief Executive Officer of Intercontinental Bank plc, Dr Erastus Akingbola and his associate, Mr Bayo Dada, continued today, Wednesday 16 November, 2011 with more revelations by a prosecution witness of how the first accused moved out billions of naira from the bank to companies owned by him and his wife, Antonia.
At the close of the court session today, a total of 52 documents to substantiate the witness’ revelations were admitted as exhibits by the trial judge, Justice Habib Abiru of the Lagos high court, Ikeja, southwest Nigeria, where the duo are facing a 22-count charge of stealing over N42 billion of depositors’ funds.
The prosecution witness, Jimoh Abdulraheem, a former chief inspector with the bank, had in his testimony on Tuesday, 15 November, detailed how funds in excess of N25 billion were moved to the offshore account of the 1st accused.
As the witness mounted the witness box again today, more revelations continued as to how the accused persons in connivance with Mrs Antonia Akingbola, wife of Dr Akingbola, raised various written instructions to the bank to manipulate the general ledger and transfer funds from the time deposit to the pre-payment account before finally issuing cheques in favour of Tropics Finance Limited.
According to the witness, the sum of N3.35 billion was moved in May 2009.
Documents effecting the payment were tendered before the court as exhibit which was accepted by the Judge after over-ruling all objections from the defence counsel, Felix Fagbohungbe.
Also brought before the court were documents consisting of letters authorising other payments, input forms used in carrying out the payments and cheques issued to effect the instructions given by Mrs Akingbola and Akin Fabunmi who is a staff of Intercontinental Bank Plc, via the letters and memos signed variously by the two parties.
The payments include: N150 million paid on the 2/6/09 to Tropics Finance Limited, N750 million paid in two tranches of N600 million and N150 million on 4/6/09 and 5/6/09 respectively.
Also on the 8/6/09 a cheque of N75 million was issued in 2 tranches of N50 million and N25 million. It was also revealed that N200 million was paid via a cheque to Tropics Properties Limited; on the 11/6/09, N235 million paid in two tranches of N200 million and N35 million to Tropics Finance Ltd and Tropics Properties Ltd on 18/6/09 respectively.
The witness also stated how the sum of N200 million was moved to the account of Tropics Finance Ltd on 26/6/09, a transaction carried out via a memo issued by Akin Fabunmi to process the transaction.
On 30/6/09, N324.5 million was also moved with instructions from the same Akin Fabunmi via a memo.
All the memos, letters and instruments used in carrying out the transactions were tendered before the court and were admitted despite strong objections from the defence counsel.
The companies that are the beneficiaries of these payments and fund transfers have been linked to the accused persons, who are all directors of the listed companies.
The court rose for a 15-minute recess at 12.50pm and resumed by 1.15pm with the prosecution counsel, Godwin Obla leading the witness to cross-examination.
He referred the witness to the witness’ statement where the transactions carried out showed that the highest beneficiary was Tropics Finance Ltd.
Obla asked the witness to tell the court how he came about the transaction reports he narrated earlier.
The witness who is currently the Chief Inspection officer of the bank said at the time the fraudulent activities were discovered, the bank asked him to conduct investigations to know how the funds were utilised and he wrote letters to First Bank Plc, Fidelity Bank and Associated Discount House Ltd where Tropics Finance Ltd sent all the money totalling N8,684,500.
According to him, replies from the correspondence sent out confirmed that all the funds were utilised to offset the credit facilities granted to Tropics Finance Ltd.
Obla further asked the witness to tell the court if the funds granted to Tropics Finance Ltd were given as a facility. The witness answered in the negative.
In all, 52 documents were accepted as exhibits.
Counsel to the EFCC thereafter sought for an adjournment for continuation of trial, a request the court granted.
The case was then adjourned till 14 December, 2011.