Alade Sunday, a compliance officer with Zenith Bank, Akure, Ondo State, on Monday narrated how his bank helped the duo of former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, and Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State move N1.2 billion.
Mr. Sunday, the prosecution’s principal witness, spoke during the trial of Abiodun Agbele, an aide to Mr. Fayose.
He told the court that as compliance officer, he was worried about the large sum of money being transported, but did not report it to any appropriate authority.
Mr. Agbele is facing trial for his role in the alleged diversion of N1.2 billion from the office of the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.
He was arraigned alongside Mr. Obanikoro, who was then outside the country, and two others, Tunde Oshinowo and Olalekan Ogunseye, both of whom are at large.
A company, Sylvan Mcnamara Limited, was also accused in the 11-count charge.
Mr. Obanikoro who submitted himself to the EFCC upon his return to Nigeria has agreed to return a bulk of the money he got from the deal.
Mr. Fayose is not being prosecuted because of the immunity he enjoys as governor by virtue of Section 308 of the Nigerian constitution. An account belonging to him, which reportedly had over N1 billion in it, was however frozen by the anti-graft agency, EFCC.
The N1.2 billion is believed to have been largely used to fund Mr. Fayose’s election as Ekiti governor. The controversial politician has since denied the charged and alleged persecution by Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress.
The money is part of the N4.7 billion allegedly transferred from an account at the Central Bank belonging to the Office of the National Security Adviser. The then National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, is also being prosecuted separately on various charges of corruption and illegal possession of firearms.
While being cross examined by Mike Ozekhome, counsel to Mr. Agbele, Mr. Alade affirmed that when the aircraft carrying the cash alighted at the Akure airport, it was Mr. Agbele who took custody of the money and transferred it to the Zenith Bank officials, including instructions on how they were to be transported to the Akure branch of the bank.
The witness, who said he had not met Mr. Obanikoro before the airlift of the cash, said the former minister arrived Akure with Mr. Agbele on the plane that brought the money.
When asked on whose instruction the monies were transferred, he said “the instruction was given by Abiodun Agbele. The transaction was processed on behalf of Agbele, the cash was mostly in N1000 bills while the rest were in N500, and were deposited into the accounts of Spotless Investment, De Privateer limited and Ayodele Fayose’s account.”
Mr. Alade had earlier testified to the court that his zonal manager, Abiodun Oshodi, informed him that a customer would be bringing in some money. But when he was asked to read from his witness statement which stated that he was informed by one Lawrence Akande from the Ibadan branch of the bank, he got agitated and insisted on the fact that he was informed by his zonal manager.