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EFCC submits Emefiele’s Zenith Bank account statement in fraud trial

Prosecuting counsel Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN) tendered Emefiele’s Zenith Bank account statement through the eighth prosecution witness Umar Abba Tilde.


EFCC submits Emefiele’s Zenith Bank account statement in fraud trial

The prosecution in the trial of former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor Godwin Emefiele over alleged procurement fraud yesterday tendered his account statement before a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Prosecuting counsel Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN) tendered Emefiele’s Zenith Bank account statement through the eighth prosecution witness Umar Abba Tilde.

Tilde said the statement was one of three sets of documents demanded from the bank by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

He said the statement had an entry of N4 million payment to Architekon Nigeria Limited on January 13, 2015.

Emefiele is being tried on a 20-count amended charge in which he is accused of conferring corrupt advantages, conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, forgery and obtaining by false pretence to the tune of $6.23 million.

Tilde, a Compliance Officer with the bank, said sometime in November 2023, the EFCC requested account opening documents, a statement of account, and a certificate of identification on Emefiele’s account.

He said his bank responded by submitting the requested documents to the EFCC.

Oyedepo tendered the documents after the witness identified them, following which Justice Hamza Muazu admitted them in evidence in the absence of any objection from the defence lawyer, Matthew Burkaa (SAN).

Tilde said the transactions as reflected in the statement represent the true state of transactions in the account.

Under cross-examination by Burkaa, Tilde said he did not know the purpose for which the N4 million was paid to Architekon.

READ ALSO: Again, Emefiele forfeits $1.4m to FG

The witness, who said he has worked in Zenith Bank for over 20 years, having been employed in 2004, admitted knowing that Emefiele also worked in the bank between 1990 and 2014 before he was appointed CBN Governor, in which capacity he served between 2014 and 2023.

Tilde said the statement of account he submitted covers transactions from January 1, 2015, to November 6, 2023.

The witness said he was aware that the defendant was entitled to salary, estacode and dividends on his shares while working in Zenith Bank.

Tilde however said he did not know if the account was where the defendant’s dividends in the bank were paid.

Earlier, an investigator with the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Michael Agboro, told the court that Emefiele awarded contracts to two firms – Architekon Nigeria Limited and April1616 Investment Limited – in which his wife, Margaret and a staff of the CBN, Sa’adatu Yaro have interests.

Agboro said while Emefiele’s wife is a director in Architekon, Sa’adatu Yaro is the main promoter of April1616.

The EFCC claimed that both companies were awarded multiple contracts for the renovation of the CBN governor’s lodge in Lagos as well as the supply of power lines and vehicles.

The prosecution’s ninth witness, Mrs. Abibia Ockiya-Ogeleye, a lawyer, said she was engaged by Architekon to among others alter its shareholding structure and its number of directors.

Ockiya-Ogeleye said she handles post-incorporation matters at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) for Architekon, which include filing the company’s annual reports.

She said she was asked in 2021 to alter the number of the company’s directors as well as the shareholder structure.

The witness said before 2021, Architekon had two directors: Omoile Makonbo and Omoile Margaret.

READ ALSO: Court orders final forfeiture of over N12.18bn properties linked to Emefiele

She said following the change, the company now has three directors: Omoile Makonbo, Omoile Margaret and Esther Oyeladun Adeohun.

The witness said after the directors were changed, the shareholding structure was also changed, with Omole Makonbo transferring 90,000 ordinary shares to Omoile Margaret and 100,000 ordinary shares to Esther Oyeladun Adeohun.

She said the transfers were carried out on March 4, 2021.

The witness said the board resolution authorising the changes in the company’s directorship and the shareholding structure was passed by Omoile Makonbo and Omoile Margaret.

Under cross-examination by Burkaa, the witness said she dealt with Esther Oyeladun Adeohun all through and that they also communicated through email.

Ockiya-Ogeleye said the documents she worked with, including the board resolution were sent to her via email.

The witness said she did not see Omoile Margaret and Omoile Makonbo execute the documents.

Ockiya-Ogeleye said she was aware that Mrs. Margaret Omoile was not in the country at the time, adding that she did not even know who Margaret Omoile is.

After Mrs. Ockiya-Ogeleye’s testimony, Burkaa informed the court that his client (Emefiele) filed a motion praying the court to release his international passport to enable him to travel for medical attention.

Justice Muazu adjourned July 8 for the hearing of the motion and October 21 for the continuation of the trial.

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