A Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja has rejected moves by former Intercontinental Bank boss, Erastus Akingbola, to recall a defence witness, Mrs Ayoola Ayinde, over his trial on N47.1billion fraud.
Mr Akingbola, was charged alongside his former business associate, Bayo Dada, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged stealing of N47.1billion owned by the rested Intercontinental Bank (now Access Bank Plc).
He had applied to the court on October 9 to recall Mrs Ayinde, a former head of foreign operations of Intercontinental Bank to tender 75 documents as exhibits to shore up his case.
The documents were to explain the £8.5 million and £1.3 million transactions she carried out on Mr Akingbola’s instructions, which according to her, he authorized her to transfer to Fulgher Solicitors, a United Kingdom-based law firm under the bank’s regular transaction.
She was expected to tender the documents to show that the money transferred to Fulgher was owned by Rockson Engineering Ltd, an explanations that contradicted the charge before the court.
Counsel to Mr Akingbola, Chief Felix Fagoungbe, SAN has noted that “in the charge, the first defendant (Akingbola) is alleged to have stolen the bank’s money. We are now saying through these documents that the money belonged to Rockson and that the total amount on Rockson’s account was paid out based on the 75 instructions in the document including that of the first defendant.”
The EFCC counsel, Mr Godwin Obla, however objected the move to recall the witness. He submitted that it was a ploy by Akingbola’s counsel to delay the trial.
In his ruling, trial judge, Justice Habeeb Abiru held that recalling Mrs Ayinde was unnecessary because she had already tendered all the relevant documents she had in her possession as exhibits.
He further explained that, “there is nothing new the witness is coming to say. It is pointless for me to recall her. Of these 75 documents, only one is relevant to this charge and she has already tendered it and it was admitted by the court as Exhibit D4”.
He therefore ordered the defence to close its case if they had no further witnesses. The matter was then adjourned to the 23rd of Oct. at the instance of the defence who pleaded or more time to bring their last witness to court.