A former Group Head of International Operations of Intercontinental Bank Plc (now Access Bank), Ayoola Akande, has faulted claims by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that former Managing Director of the Bank, Erastus Akingbola engaged in irregular transactions while running the bank.

Mrs Akande, who is the first defence witness in the on-going trial of Mr Akingbola over an alleged N47.1 billion theft before a Lagos High Court in Ikeja, said that some of the transactions carried out by the former bank boss, including the transfer of 8.5 million pounds from the bank’s nostro account, were regular.

The defence witness who was being led in evidence by Mr Akingbola’s counsel, Deji Sasegbon told the court that the 8.5 million pounds deal was financed by Regal Investment Company Limited which had an account with Intercontinental Capital Markets Limited (ICML), a subsidiary of the bank.

Regal Investment according to the witness is owned by Raymond Obieri, who was also the Chairman of Intercontinental Bank.

Mrs Akande also refuted the claims of the EFCC that Regal Investments did not have sufficient funds in its current account with the bank to warrant the transaction.

According to the witness, the company had over N4 billion in various accounts with the bank at the time the transaction was made.

On the transfer of another $1.3 million on the 13th of July,2009 the witness said this was financed by Tropics Finance Limited, which was being managed by one Mr Dada.

The witness said the naira equivalent was provided by the company and it was used for the purchase of dollars from Rockson Engineering Limited, a transaction she says was approved by the bank as both the bank and Tropics made profit from it.

Mr Akingbola and his associate, Bayo Dada are standing trial before the court presided over by Justice Habeeb Abiru on a 27 count charge of allegedly stealing the bank’s money.

The matter has been adjourned till Thursday for continuation of the trial.