Akingbola lied about buying shares for Intercontinental Bank, says witness
Prosecution witness in the trial of Erastus Akingbola has detailed how the former managing director of the defunct Intercontinental Bank laundered the bank’s funds on the pretext of buying shares without securities.
He disclosed this yesterday before Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, during the continuation of Akingbola’s case.
The former bank chief is standing trial for an amended 22-count charge on abuse of office, diversion of funds belonging to Intercontinental Bank and stealing of N900.3 billion, £8.5 million and £1.3 million.
At yesterday’s sitting, the second prosecution witness, Abdulraheem Jimoh, a former chief inspector with the bank, under cross-examination by the defence counsel, Wole Olanipekun (SAN), told the court that he was aware that the bank operated a “Nostro Account”, which was the aggregate of its funds transferred to offshore correspondent banks.
The witness also stated that funds must be available in the bank for the offshore banks to be functional.
However, when asked if he knew that the bank funded its Nostro Account and if funds were transferred offshore, he said “no”.
Jimoh, during cross-examination, said: “I wrote to ICSL Securities Limited, a subsidiary of Intercontinental Bank, that was into share buying and sales.
“The content of my letter to the company was to know if Intercontinental Bank bought any shares from ICSL.
“Their response was that the bank did not buy shares from ICSL, but that those placements were made to the company by Intercontinental Bank on the instructions of the defendant.
“The placements were made without adequate securities under Akingbola’s watch as the managing director of the bank.
“Although I did not find out if the placements were re-paid to Intercontinental Bank, and generally placements do not attract interests,” he said.
When the defence counsel sought to tender the response from ICSL to the letter written by the witness, the prosecuting counsel objected to its admissibility on the ground that the document was not relevant.
“The witness has said his investigations revealed that no shares were bought by Akingbola,” Jacobs said.
The court sustained the objection.
While being cross-examined over his curriculum vitae, the witness told the court that he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Kaduna State in 1982.
However, the defence counsel told the court that the witness had lied about obtaining a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Ilorin, Kwara State.
“This witness does not seem to be a witness of truth because he told an Ikeja High Court that he obtained an MBA.
“He, however, told this court a different story that he did not conclude the MBA programme,” Olanipekun added.
The CV of the witness was thereafter tendered and admitted in evidence by the court.
Though the witness told the court that he did not interrogate any staff of Tropics Securities Limited, he said he wrote to the company to provide him with the shares sold by the bank, if any.
Justice Olatoregu thereafter adjourned the case till April 4 and 5, 2019 for continuation of trial.