The trial of Erastus Akingbola, a former Managing Director of the defunct Intercontinental Bank Plc, continued on Thursday before Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, with a prosecution witness detailing how he allegedly laundered the bank’s funds on the pretext of buying shares without securities.
Mr Akingbola is standing trial for an amended 22-count charge bordering on abuse of office, conversion of funds belonging to Intercontinental Bank Plc and stealing to the tune of N900.3 billion, £8.5 million and £1.3 million.
At Thursday’s sitting, the second prosecution witness, Abdulraheem Jimoh, a former Chief Inspector with the defunct Intercontinental Bank Plc, under cross-examination by the defence counsel, Wole Olanipekun, told the court that he was aware that the bank operated a “Nostro Account”, which was the aggregate of the bank’s 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”. Mr Jimoh, during cross-examination, gave further evidence into his investigations, saying, “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.” When the defence counsel sought to tender the response from ICSL Securities Limited to the letter written by the witness, the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, objected to its admissibility on the grounds that the document was not relevant.
“The witness has said his investigations revealed that no shares were bought by Erastus Akingbola,” Mr Jacobs said.
The objection was sustained by the court.
While being cross-examined over his Curriculum Vitae, CV, the witness told the court that he obtained a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State in 1982.
However, the defence counsel told the court that the witness lied about obtaining a Master of Business Administration 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 a MBA.
“He, however, told this court a different story that he did not conclude the MBA programme,” Mr 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 there were any.
Justice Olatoregu thereafter adjourned the case to April 4 and 5, 2019 for the continuation of trial.