The trial of the former governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose on charges of fraud and money laundering continued today at the Federal High Court, Lagos with the testimony of a second prosecution witness, a former Executive staff of Zenith Bank Plc, Sunday Oluseye Alade.
The witness told Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke that it took the bank 10 days to count the sum of N1.2 billion which was moved to the bank’s branch in Akure on behalf of a former Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Peter Ayodele Fayose.
The witness who was the Head of the Akure Branch of Zenith bank narrated how in 2014, he arranged for a bullion van to pick up the cash warehoused in an Aircraft at the Akure Airport.
His testimony corroborated Tuesday’s statement of another top official of Zenith Bank Plc, Dr Abiodun Oshode, who said the bank took a bullion van to the Akure Airport in Ondo State to evacuate the cash from an aircraft.
The money was allegedly brought in to the state for the purpose of funding the governorship ambition of Mr Fayose.
After the evacuation it was allegedly deposited in three bank accounts, including Mr Fayose’s personal account
“On 17th June, 2014, I received a phone call from Lawrence Akande through Abiodun Oshode, who was my Zonal Head that a customer of the bank will be coming to make cash deposit in Akure. I was told that the customer would be coming by a flight to Akure Airport.
“After some hours, Abiodun Oshode came to my office to inform me that the said customer was in his office. I then followed him to his office where he introduced one, Biodun Agbele, to me as the bank customer. I was later instructed to prepare the cash movement team (bullion van and security) to pick the cash from the Airport”, he said.
Speaking further, the witness said: “When the aircraft arrived, three individuals disembarked from it, two of them walked away while the third person walked to Abiodun Agbele. After a short interaction, we were left to offload the cash from the aircraft.
“One, Adewale O., who introduced himself as the orderly to Senator Obanikoro led us to offload the cash. When we got to the branch, we bundle-counted the cash and it was about N744 million.
“We were told there was a balance and we went back to the airport to pick the second batch from the aircraft into our bullion van. The second tranch was about N494 million, making a total of N1.2 billion. The money was detail-counted by the Cash and Teller unit for ten days before it was credited into three different accounts”.
A third Prosecution witness, a Senior Manager at the Abuja branch of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Aliu Mohammed, also testified as to how a sum of N2.2 billion was transferred into the Diamond bank account of a firm, Sylva Mcmanara, from the operational account of the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki, at CBN.
Mohammed, who is the Head of Payment Section at the apex Bank disclosed that payments mandate was first received from the NSA’s office on 4th June, 2014 to pay N200 million to Sylva Mcmanara for the purpose of physical security infrastructure.
He said another mandate was also received on 16th June, 2014, for the payment of N2 billion into the firm’s account for security services.
Under cross-examination by Fayose’s lawyer, Ola Olanipekun (SAN), the witness said his office did not come across the former governor’s name in any of the documents used to process the payments into Sylva Mcnamara account.
A former staff of Diamond bank, Olaitan Fajuyitan, testified as the 4th prosecution witness. He corroborated the CBN’s staff claims of funds transfer into Sylva Mcnamara’s account.
He also narrated how the bank was instructed by Sylva Mcnamara to pay the sum of N1.2 billion to six individuals on the same day N2 billion was transferred to the account by CBN.
“The payment instruction was signed by the authorizing signatory of Sylva Mcnamara’s account. The beneficiaries were six in total. The authorizing signatory directed us to waive their means of identification”, he said.
According to the witness, the six beneficiaries are: Sam Turaki Bello, who collected N200 million; Yusuf Bulama, who collected N120 million; Chimenum Njoku, who collected N250 million; Josiah Moses, who collected N280 million; Abubakar Sadiq Zara, who collected N200 million and Franklin Tolani, who got N150 million.
The trial is to continue on Friday, the 25th of Oct.