A prosecution witness, Emmanuel Al-Hassan, in the ongoing trial of a former Managing Director of the defunct Afribank Plc, Sebastian Adigwe and six others have told a Lagos State High Court sitting in Igbosere how the bankers plotted to cover-up over 15 billion Naira (about $93.7 million) allegedly stolen from the bank.
Al-Hassan, who led a team of investigators from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the alleged crime, told the trial judge, Justice Olabisi Akinlade, on Tuesday, that the accused persons concocted various documents to mask the fact that the money was diverted to companies they had links with.
The former Afribank boss, Adigwe was arraigned alongside Osa Osunde, Jibrin Isah, Isa Zailani, Chinedu Onyia, Henry Arogundade and Peter Ololo before the court by the EFCC on a 36-count charge of conspiracy, stealing and receiving stolen property.
While being cross-examined by Adigwe’s counsel, Mr Anthony Idigbe, Al-Hassan said that the stolen money was fraudulently converted to the use of AIL Securities Limited, Asset Management Nominees Holding Limited and Falcons Securities Limited allegedly belonging to the defendants.
The witness Said: “Though I am not a banker or a stockbroker, but during the course of investigation we discovered that Adigwe and other directors of the defunct bank transferred 15 billion Naira in favour of another Rehoboth Asset Limited.
“Also, during investigation, the team discovered a document showing that the money was granted as a loan facility to buy shares from another party other than from the floor of the Nigerian stock Exchange”.
Al-Hassan further informed the court that in the course of their investigation, they obtained various documents after the exits of the defendants from the bank that explained what transpired and led to 11.5 billion Naira being transferred to Spring Capital limited.
The witness stated that when the alleged stealing was committed, documents were contrived to cover-up the stealing. He explained that some of the exhibits before the court were part of the documentations made to cover up the alleged fraud.
Al-Hassan said the Managing Director of ACL told his team that she was instructed by the Adigwe to transfer the money to Spring Capital limited.
He also maintained that Afribank granted 15 billion Naira loan to AIL Securities Limited without a formal letter requesting for the facility.
Al-Hassan further alleged that another bank account was opened in Falcon Securities’ name with “zero Naira” for the purposes of transferring the 15 billion Naira credit facility.
The witness also informed the court that additional 15 billion Naira was given to Falcon Securities as loan for the purchase of stocks of blue chip companies on the floor of the NSE.
The trial has been adjourned till January 26 and 28 for continuation of cross-examination of the witness.