EFCC Arrests Akingbola Ahead Of Tuesday’s Trial

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) will tomorrow, Tuesday, re-arraign the former Managing Director of Intercontinental Bank Plc, Mr. Erastus Akingbola, on charges of theft of the bank’s funds.

Meanwhile, the anti-graft agency in a statement released today said  it had arrested Mr. Akingbola in preparation for his arraignment before Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo of a Lagos High Court, Ikeja.

The former bank boss is currently being held at the Commission’s facility in Ikoyi, Lagos.

His re-arraignment  was necessitated  by the elevation of former trial judge, Justice Habeeb Abiru, to the Court of Appeal.  Justice Abiru had on the 22nd of October, 2012 adjourned the matter till the 22nd of November, 2012 for adoption of final addresses of the counsel in the matter.

He was, however, sworn in as a Justice of the Court of Appeal on the 5th of November, 2012.

The development rendered Justice Abiru “functus-officio” and there arose the need to re-assign the case to another judge for it to start de novo (afresh).

In the former charges,  the EFCC alleged that Mr. Akingbola and his aide, the General Manager, Tropics Finance Ltd, Mr. Bayo Dada, stole about N47.1 billion belonging to the bank.

EFCC re-arraigns Arisekola Alao’s son, others over N1.1b fuel subsidy theft

For the third time running, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wedesday arraigned Abdulahi Alao, the son of Ibadan business man, Alhaji Abdulazeez Arisekola Alao alongside four others over their alleged involvement in N1.1billion fuel subsidy scam.

Abdulahi had earlier been arraigned before Justice Habeeb Abiru as well as Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo, both of the Lagos High Court, Ikeja on a nine count charge of subsidy fraud by the anti-graft agency in July, 2012.

However, in a fresh six-count N1.1 billion theft charge brought against the junior Alao, he was accused alongside Opeyemi Ajuyah, Olanrewaju Olalusi and two companies; Majope Investment Limited and Axenergy Limited before Justice Lateefa Okunnu also of the Lagos state High Court, Ikeja.

The defendants were charged with offences bothering on conspiracy, obtaining by false pretence, forgery and uttering of forged document.

They were said to have conspired amongst themselves on February 14, 2011 to obtain the sum of N1,110,049,444.35 from the Federal Government of Nigeria by falsely claiming that the sum represented subsidy accruing to them under the Petroleum Support Fund (PSF), for the importation into Nigeria of 15,206.733 Metric Tons of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).

An offence, the EFCC said was contrary to Section 1 (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006.

The Commission also accused the oil marketers of obtaining by false pretence the sum of N1,110,049,444.35, from the government on April 18, 2011, by falsely claiming that the sum represented subsidy accruing to them under the PSF for the importation into Nigeria of 15,206.733 Metric Tons of PMS.

According to the EFCC, “Opeyemi Ajuyah, Majope Investment Limited, Abdulahi Alao, Axenergy Limited and Olanrewaju Olalusi on or about the 14th day of February 2011 in Lagos, with intent to defraud, conspired to obtain the sum of N1,110,049,444.35 from the Federal Government of Nigeria by falsely claiming that the sum represented subsidy accruing to you under the Petroleum Support Fund for the importation into Nigeria of 15,206,733 metric tons of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) which representation you knew to be false”.

They were also alleged to have forged a document titled, “Shore Tank Certificate” dated 22nd of January, 2011 purporting the document to have been issued by an officer of Q & Q Control Services Nigeria Limited, the offence allegedly contravened section 467 of the Criminal Code Cap. C17, Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria 2003.

They all pleaded not guilty to the offences.

Mr. Taiwo Taiwo, who represented them asked the court to hear their bail, however the court adjourned the case till October 19, 2012 for hearing of their bail applications.

 

 

N47.1billion fraud: Court denies Akingbola’s recall of witness

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.

Akingbola takes his chance in court, says I never stole a kobo

The former Managing Director of defunct Intercontinental Bank Plc, Erastus Akingbola, who is standing trial over allegations of stealing N47.1 billion from the bank, on Wednesday, had a chance to defend himself in court.

The former Managing Director of Intercontinental Bank, Erastus Akingbola is standing trial for allegedly stealing N47.1 billion from the defunct bank

Mr Akingbola, who testified in his own defence before a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja that is trying him and his aide, Bayo Dada, the General Manager of Tropics Securities Limited for stealing, denied ever stealing or defrauding the bank he help founded in 1989.

The former bank boss said the 16 counts of stealing brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before the court presided over by Justice Habeeb Abiru are spurious, malicious and false.

While being led in evidence by his counsel, Felix Fagbohungbe, Mr Akingbola said “the allegations are false and it is incorrect because I never posted, receive or authorize any such amount and I did not receive or see any money. I didn’t convert Intercontinental Bank Plc funds fraudulently to Tropics Securities Limited”

Mr Akingbola said though he is the Chairman of Tropics, he never authorised, signed or paid any money to Tropics Finance and he was not aware of the transactions on purchase of shares as he was not involved in the day to day running of the company as there was an Executive Director in charge of shares in Intercontinental Bank.

“Intercontinental Bank has 200 branches within Nigeria, 57 in Ghana and many subsidiaries so there are about 10 Executive Directors that have autonomy and are checked through countersigns by other Executive Directors,” he said.

He said the alleged transactions were carried out by the Executive Director in charge of Investments and Subsidiaries, Yinka Adebiyi who he has not seen since he left the bank in August 14, 2009 but who he learnt is still wanted by the EFCC.

“I was not aware that Intercontinental Bank Plc instructed Tropics Securities to purchase shares in 2008. This was carried out by one of the 10 Executive Directors under me who process transactions in their directorate,” he said.

Mr Akingbola also denied the allegation that he had between March and July 2009, transferred 8.5 million and 1.3 million Pound belonging to the bank to Fulgher Solicitors, a United Kingdom- based law firm.

“My Lord, this is not correct because money was not paid from the bank’s NOSTRO account but through the NOSTRO account. Like any other customer of the bank or any Nigerian that needs foreign exchange, I commissioned the bank to buy them for me.

“I put the naira equivalent down before they bought the exchange and my transfers did not go through until the naira equivalent was in the hands of our foreign operations department staff,” he said.

According to him, he financed the transaction through a N2.2 billion loan obtained from Regal Investment Company Ltd, owned by the Chairman of Board of Intercontinental Bank, Raymond Obieri.

Mr Akingbola when asked if he knew how the forex was sourced said he did not know as he does not poke nose into what does not concern him as people assigned the responsibility knew how to do their job and as a customer, he can’t be asking them and since there was no complaint from the beneficiaries.

Though Mr Akingbola admitted that he was the chairman and a signatory to the accounts of Tropics Securities Ltd, Tropics Property Ltd, Tropics Finance Ltd and Bakinson Nigeria Ltd, he was emphatic that he was not aware of the transactions.

“I am only a signatory to their accounts because I signed when the accounts were being opened about 15 years ago. I have never signed any cheque or document for these companies since then”.

He also denied that he had in February 2009, transferred N2.5 billion from Intercontinental Bank’s account with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to his personal account.

Justice Abiru adjourned the trial till 26 September to enable the EFCC’s counsel, Emmanuel Ukala cross examine Mr Akingbola.

Fuel Subsidy scam: Court grants N100 million bail to Arisekola-Alao’s son

A Lagos High Court on Wednesday, granted a N100 million bail to Abdullahi Alao, son of Ibadan businessman, Alhaji Abdulaziz Arisekola-Alao.

Abdullahi Alao (R) with his lawyer,

The junior Alao is standing trial for making fraudulent claims in the fuel subsidy payments.

Abdullahi and his company, Axenergy Limited, were on July 26 arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on seven counts of collecting about N2.64 billion from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as subsidy payment for the purported importation of 33.3million litres Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).

Presiding Judge, Justice Habeeb Abiru granted Mr Alao the bail in the sum of N100million with two sureties in like sum.

He held that the EFCC failed to give cogent reasons to warrant the refusal of the bail application.

The judge adjourned the matter till October 22, 2012 for commencement for trial.

Alao, who also faces a separate charge along with Mahmud Tukur, son of the incumbent National Chairman of the ruling People’s Democratic Party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, Alex Ochonogo and Eterna Oil and Gas Limited, had earlier on July 27, been granted bail by another Lagos High Court, judge, Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo.

‎​But he was remanded with the EFCC so that Justice Abiru will determine whether to grant him bail or not for the second charge filed against him by the anti-graft agency.

Akingbola opens defence on alleged N47.1billion theft

The former Managing Director of Intercontinental Bank PLC (now Access Bank), Dr Erastus Akingbola, and his aide, one Bayo Dada, have opened their defence in the N47.1 billion theft charge made against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Both men opened their defence on Wednesday after the ruling of the trial judge, Justice Habeeb Abiru of the Lagos High Court, Ikeja.

In the ruling, the judge dismissed their “no case submission” and held that there is a connection between the evidence of the prosecution and the charges brought against the defendants.

With the ruling out of the way, the stage was set for the former bank boss to call his first witness, one Ayoola Olabisi.

The witness who says she is a Financial and Project Consultant testified that she was in the service of Intercontinental Bank for 19 years before her disengagement.

Counsel to the defense, led by Deji Sasegbon, the witness contradicted the testimony of the EFCC’s first prosecution witness, a Chief Inspector of the bank, Mr Abdulraheem Jimoh.

She testified that contrary to his claims, she responded to a request from one of Intercontinental bank’s correspondent banks, Deutsche Bank on the transfer of the sum of 10million pounds to the effect that it was not an irregular transaction

A copy of the letter in response to the enquiries of the Deutsche bank was subsequently tendered and admitted by the bank as exhibit.

The matter has however been adjourned till the 20th of June for continuation of the testimony of the witness.

Govt transfers Daily Times’ trial to Directorate of Public Prosecution

The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Justice Minister, Mohammed Adoke (SAN) has transferred the prosecution of Fidelis and Noel Anosike, both directors of Folio Communications Limited and owners of Daily Times Limited to the Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP).

The brothers are facing charges of allegedly stealing N1.7 billion belonging to Daily Times before Justice Habeeb Abiru of a Lagos High Court, Ikeja.

An official of the Lagos state DPP, L.A Sanusi, who turned up for the court hearing on Tuesday, informed the court that, the AGF had on the 8th of March transferred the case file to the DPP for further prosecution.

He asked the court for an adjournment to enable his office study the volume of documents so as to know what steps to take in view of the volume of the documents.

Counsel to the Anosike brothers, Norrison Quakers (SAN), objected to the transfer, arguing that it was unconstitutional for the AGF to transfer the matter when there was already a pending application.

He also asked the court to strike out the charges against the Anosike’s on the basis that it was incompetent and the transfer to the DPP was against the criminal procedure rules

Presiding Judge, Justice Habeeb Abiru declined to strike out the matter and instead reminded Mr Quakers that the Attorney General of the federation had a valid fiat from the Attorney General of Lagos State to prosecute the matter.

The matter was then adjourned till the 30th April for further hearing.

The Anosike brothers are  facing a 21-count charge of conspiring to siphon several billions of Naira from Daily Times Nigeria. They are  also accused of allegedly making false representations to the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) that they had the means to acquire majority shares in Daily TimesNigeria when the media house was privatised.