The Federal High Court in Lagos Tuesday heard that former defunct Intercontinental Bank Managing Director Dr Erastus Akingbola allegedly repaid a personal debt using the bank’s N10billion.
An Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) investigator Abdulraheem Jimoh told the court how he uncovered the alleged fraudulent transaction.
He was testifying as the second prosecution witness in Akingbola’s trial before Justice Mojisola Olatoregun-Ishola.
Jimoh, led in evidence by the prosecuting counsel Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) said: “The management of the bank gave me a letter dated May 8, 2009 from Tropics Securities Nigeria Limited, a company owned by Dr Erastus Akingbola, his wife and some other shareholders.
“The letter was addressed to the Group Managing Director Dr Erastus Akingbola and was signed by a Mr Bayo Dada and one Jackson.
“The letter was claiming payment amounting to N10billion for shares purported to have been bought by the bank.”
The investigator said based on the letter, Intercontinental Bank issued three cheques amounting to N10billion in favour of Tropics Securities.
“Upon further investigation, I discovered that the cheques were cleared in Access Bank for Tropics Securities Nigeria Limited and Tropics Properties Limited.
“Dr Akingbola has substantial interests in these firms.
“Further investigations revealed that the money was used to clear Dr Akingbola’s indebtedness to Access Bank.”
Asked whether the N10billin was a loan from Intercontinental Bank to Akingbola, the witness said: “There was no loan granted to any of the companies or Dr Akingbola but they claimed it was for shares.”
The 10-year-old case began afresh following the Supreme Court’s dismissal of an interlocutory appeal by Akingbola.
In the 26 count charge, the prosecution alleged that while he was Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Intercontinental Bank, Akingbola, between November 2007 and July 2008, approved a credit facility of N8billion each to Soo-Kok Holding Limited, Tofa General Enterprises, Cinca Nigeria Limited; l, Harmony Trust and Investment Limited and Stanzus Investment Limited.
EFCC said the illegal transactions were carried out between May 2008 and May 2009 in contravention of “accepted practice or Intercontinental Bank Plc’s regulations.”
It said Akingbola violated Section 15(1)(a)(i) of the Failed Banks (Recovery of Debts) and Financial Malpractices in Banks Act, Cap F2, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and was liable to be punished under Section 16(1)(a) of the same Act.
The prosecution alleged that under Akingbola’s watch, Intercontinental Bank had N87.6billion non-performing credit burden.
It said Akingbola failed to take all reasonable steps to ensure compliance with the requirement to maintain, at all times, the minimum capital adequacy ratio specified by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in compliance with Section 13(1) of the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act, Cap B3 Laws of the Federation 2004.
Akingbola pleaded not guilty. Trial continues on Wednesday.