28th May, 2019
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of a Federal High Court, Abuja has adjourned the trial of a former Chairman, Board of Directors, Skye Bank Plc (now Polaris Bank), Tunde Ayeni to July 2, 2019.
Ayeni is facing a 10-count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of N25,415,080,000.
He was on March 7, 2019 arraigned along with Timothy Ajani Oguntayo and two companies, Control Dredging Company Ltd and Royaltex paramount Ventures Ltd, for allegedly conspiring at different times to fraudulently divert depositors’ funds domiciled at the defunct Skye Bank Plc.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Tunde Ayeni, whilst being the Chairman, Board of Directors of the defunct Skye Bank Plc, between the 1st of January, 2014 and 31st December, 2014 at Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did commit an offence, to wit: converting the aggregate sum of N17,415,080,000 (Seventeen Billion, Four Hundred and Fifteen Million, Eighty Thousand Naira), taken in cash from defunct Skye Bank Plc Suspense Account and delivered to you by the staff of the defunct Skye Bank Plc, which money you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act, to wit: fraud and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 15(2)(b) and (3) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended).”
They pleaded “not guilty” to the charges.
At the resumed sitting on May 27, 2019 counsel for the first, third and fourth defendant, Wole Olanipekun, SAN, appeared on behalf of the defendant and applied for an adjournment.
“This is a matter that arose out of business transaction that went sour, and the matter could be resolved,” he said, noting that they had since been in touch with government to see how best it could be resolved.
Counsel for the EFCC, Suraj Saeda, SAN, however, told the court that he was not in the know of any such settlement.
The trial judge, thereafter, adjourned to July 2, 2019 for report of settlement or any other application.