A prosecution witness, Abdulraheem Jimoh, in the ongoing trial of Erastus Akingbola, a former Managing Director of the defunct Intercontinental Bank Plc, yesterday told Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, how the defendant diverted funds from the bank and bought some property in London for £9.7 million
A statement yesterday in Abuja by the Acting Spokesperson of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Tony Orilade, said the prosecution had on Tuesday, March 12, 2019 opened the trial of the former bank chief.At the resumed hearing, Jimoh, a former Chief Inspector with the defunct Intercontinental Bank, told the court how he unravelled fraudulent transactions by Akingbola.
Led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), the witness said: “I was given a letter by the management of the bank, which came from Tropics Securities Limited, a company owned by Dr. Erastus Akingbola, his wife and some other shareholders.
“The letter was addressed to the Group Managing Director, Dr. Erastus Akingbola and for the attention of Mr. Olayinka Adebiyi, requesting the payment of N10 billion, N1.2 billion and N4.3 billion to Tropics Securities Limited and other companies. “Investigation report on the issuance of N10 billion to Tropics Properties, Tropic Securities Limited and Bankinson Nigeria Limited showed that the monies paid and cleared by Access Bank were said to have been used to pay for the “indebtedness to Access Bank”.
The witness said the N10 billion fraud was discovered by the bank and later forwarded to him for further enquiry. In his further evidence, he said he discovered, during investigation, that the defendant acquired property in London with £8.5 million and £1.2 million allegedly diverted from the bank. He added: “This was discovered when the bank received a letter via e-mail from Deutsche Bank of London.
“Monies were transferred to Soo-Kok Holdings Limited; Tofa General Enterprises; Cinca Nigeria Limited; Harmony Trust and Investment Limited; Stanzus Investment Limited.” Counsel to the defendant, Wole Olanipekun (SAN), during cross-examination, confronted the witness with a documented evidence he gave to an Ikeja High Court some years ago where he contradicted himself over his MBA qualification.
“I enrolled, but the MBA programme was aborted because I didn’t finish some project works in 2000 from the University of Ilorin,” the witness stated. Olanipekun also told the court that the witness was misleading the court, saying: “The witness is not a witness of truth and, therefore, should not be believed by the court of his testimony.”
When asked to explain to the court the origin of the statement to the court marked Exhibit L, he said: “The statement was written in my office when the EFCC investigators came to interview me. They gave me their letter head.”The statement was typed by someone else in my office.
“I sat beside the person who typed the statement while I dictated the hand-written statement to her.” Under further cross-examination, he said he never interrogated or met with the defendant.The witness, however, admitted to have interrogated various Heads of Departments in the bank.
“I interrogated various Heads of Departments in Intercontinental Bank because they acted upon the instructions of Akingbola”, the witness said. The witness also told the court that no loan was granted to the defendant or his companies. Justice Olatoregun adjourned the case to today, March 14, 2019, for continuation of trial.