20th June, 2012
A former Group Head of International Operations of Intercontinental Bank Plc(now Access Bank), Mrs Ayoola Akande, on Wednesday defended some of the transactions carried out by a former Managing Director of the bank, Erastus Akingbola, who is standing trial for alleged N47.1 billion theft.
Akande was testifying before Justice Habeeb Abiru of an Ikeja High Court in Lagos at the trial of Akingbola and an associate, Bayo Dada.
They were charged to court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for allegedly stealing the bank’s money.
The witness who was being led in evidence by Akingbola’s counsel, Mr Deji Sasegbon (SAN), faulted the prosecution’s claim that the former bank chief engaged on irregular transactions.
Akande said some of the transactions carried out by Akingbola, including the transfer of 8.5 million pounds from the bank’s nostro account, were regular.
She said the 8.5 million pounds deal was financed by Regal Investment Company Limited which had an account with Intercontinental Capital Markets Limited (ICML), a subsidiary of the bank.
The witness said:”The funds (N2.1 billion) were from Regal Investment which was provided through ICML.
“We got instruction from Regal Investment which is owned by Dr Raymond Obieri who was also the Chairman of Intercontinental Bank, to transfer the money.
“For the transfer, the nostro account of the bank was credited and a deduction was made by us from the bank’s vostro account.
“We would not have transferred the 8.5 million pounds if the naira equivalent was not in place.
“It was a normal banking transaction because we waited for the naira value to be available before we transferred the money,” she added.
Akande also debunked the claim by EFCC that Regal Investment had no sufficient funds in its current account with the bank to warrant the transaction.
According to her, the company had over N4 billion in various accounts with the bank at the time the transaction was made.
She further claimed that the transfer of 1.3 million dollars on 13 July, 2009 was financed by Tropics Finance Limited, which was being managed by Dada.
The witness said the naira equivalent was provided by the company and it was used for the purchase of dollars from Rockson Engineering Limited.
“The transaction was approved by the bank and both the bank and Tropics made profit from it,” Akande said.
The matter was adjourned till Thursday for continuation of trial.
By Henry Ojelu