We Counted Fayose’s N1.2b For 10 Days- Zenith Bank Tells Court

A former Executive staff of Zenith Bank Plc, Sunday Alade, on Wednesday told the Federal High Court in Lagos that it took the bank ten days to count N1.2 billion which was moved to the Akure branch of the bank on behalf of the former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose.

Alade, who was testifying as a prosecution witness in the on going trial of Fayose before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke, also claimed that he arranged for a bullion van to pick up the cash, which was warehoused in an Aircraft at the Akure Airport.

The former Governor and his company, Spotless Limited are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over allegations of money laundering and N3.3bn fraud.

They, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

While being led in evidence by the EFCC counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, Alade said he was the Head of the Akure Branch of Zenith Bank in 2014, when the transaction took place.

He said, “On 17th June, 2014, I received a phone call from Lawrence Akande through Abiodun Oshode, who was my Zonal Head that a customer of the bank will be coming to make cash deposit in Akure. I was told that the customer would be coming by a flight to Akure Airport.

“After some hours, Abiodun Oshode came to my office to inform me that the said customer was in his office.

Read Also: Alleged N6.9b Fraud: Fayose’s Trial Resumes Before New Judge

“I then followed him to his office where he introduced one, Biodun Agbele, to me as the bank customer.

“I was later instructed to prepare the cash movement team (bullion van and security) to pick the cash from the Airport”, he said.

“When the aircraft arrived, three individuals disembarked from it, two of them walked away while the third person walked to Abiodun Agbele. After a short interaction, we were left to offload the cash from the aircraft.

“One, Adewale O., who introduced himself as the orderly to Senator Obanikoro led us to offload the cash. When we got to the branch, we bundle-counted the cash and it was about N744 million.

“We were told there was a balance and we went back to the airport to pick the second batch from the aircraft into our bullion van. The second tranch was about N494 million, making a total of N1.2 billion.

“The money was detail-counted by the Cash and Teller unit for ten days before it was credited into three different accounts”.

Also during yesterday’s proceedings, a Senior Manager from Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Aliu Mohammed, told the court how N2.2 billion was transferred into Diamond bank’s account of a firm, Sylva Mcmanara, from the operational account of the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki, at CBN.

Mohammed, who is the Head of Payment Section at the apex Bank disclosed that payments mandate was first received from the NSA’s office on 4th June, 2014 to pay N200 million to Sylva Mcmanara for the purpose of physical security infrastructure.

He said another mandate was also received on 16th June, 2014, for the payment of N2 billion into the firm’s account for security services.

While being cross-examined by Fayose’s lawyer, Ola Olanipekun (SAN), the witness said his office did not come across the former governor’s name in any of the documents used to process the payments into Sylva Mcnamara account.

Also former staff of Diamond bank, Olaitan Fajuyitan, was also on hand yesterday to corroborate the CBN’s staff claims of funds transfer into Sylva Mcnamara’s account.

Fajuyitan also narrated how the bank was instructed by Sylva Mcnamara to pay the sum of N1.2 billion to six individuals on the same day N2 billion was transferred to the account by CBN.

“The payment instruction was signed by the authorizing signatory of Sylva Mcnamara’s account. The beneficiaries were six in total. The authorizing signatory directed us to waive their means of identification”, he said.

According to the witness, the six beneficiaries are: Sam Turaki Bello, who collected N200 million; Yusuf Bulama, who collected N120 million; Chimenum Njoku, who collected N250 million; Josiah Moses, who collected N280 million; Abubakar Sadiq Zara, who collected N200 million and Franklin Tolani, who got N150 million.

Justice Aneke has fixed further hearing in the matter for Friday.

The EFCC claimed in the charge that on 17th June, 2014, Fayose and one, Abiodun Agbele, were said to have taken possession of the sum of N1.2 billion, for purposes of funding his gubernatorial election campaign in Ekiti State, which sum they reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.

Fayose was alleged to have received a cash payment of the sum of $5 million (about N1.8 billion) from a former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, without going through any financial institution and which sum exceeded the amount allowed by law.

He was also alleged to have retained the sum of N300 million in his bank account and took control of the aggregate sums of about N622 million which sum he ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.

The former governor was also alleged to have procured De Privateer Ltd and Still Earth Ltd,  to retain the aggregate sums of N851 million in his bank account which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.

Besides, the accused was alleged to have used the aggregate sums of about N1.6 billion to acquire property in Lagos and Abuja, which sums he reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.

The accused was also alleged to have used the sum of N200 million, to acquire a property in Abuja, in the name of his elder sister Moji Oladeji, which sum he ought to know also forms crime proceeds.

The offences contravenes the provisions of sections 15(1), 15 (2), 15 (3), 16(2)(b), 16 (d),  and 18 (c)  of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011.

28th February 2024
Nigerian Pantagraph