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Fayose’s trial: Bank manager tells court how he received N1.2bn

A Branch Manager of Zenith Bank Plc, Akure in 2014, Mr. Sunday Alade on Monday told a Federal High Court in Lagos how N1.2billion was…

A Branch Manager of Zenith Bank Plc, Akure in 2014, Mr. Sunday Alade on Monday told a Federal High Court in Lagos how N1.2billion was allegedly moved to his branch.

Alade, who is the 11th prosecution witness, was led in evidence by the prosecuting counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) in the trial of former governor of Ekiti state, Ayodele Fayose.

Fayose and one Agbele were alleged to have taken possession of the sum of N1.2 billion for the purposes of funding his gubernatorial election campaign in Ekiti state, which sum they reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds, according to charges filed by the EFCC.

Fayose was alleged to have received a cash payment of the sum of five million dollars, (about N1.8 billion) from the then Minister of State for Defence, Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro, without going through any financial institution and which sum exceeded the amount allowed by law, the EFCC had alleged.

The witness said he got a call from his head of operations asking him to prepare to head for Akure Airport to receive huge cash from a customer.

“On the 17th of June 2014, I was in my office in Zenith Bank, Akure. I received a call from my head of operations, Abiodun Oshodi, that a customer would be coming to make deposit into his account with the bank.

“He said in order to provide security, we should arrange for bullion van to go to the airport to pick the cash.

“After an hour, my head, Abiodun Oshodi, came and said the customer had arrived. He introduced Abiodun Agbele as the customer.

“He said we should prepare to go to the airport. I asked for time to arrange for security, but they said that won’t be necessary as they had sufficient security.  They came with MOPOL and some soldiers in a Hilux,” Alade said.

The witness said he joined Oshodi and Agbele to the airport, along with the bullion van and the security men.

Alade said: “At the airport, we waited for a few minutes before the arrival of the aircraft. Three individuals came out of the aircraft.

“Two of them walked away. The remaining person introduced himself as O. Adewale. The cash was offloaded into the bullion van and we drove to Zenith Bank, Akure,” Alade said.

He said when they arrived at the bank, the money was counted in his presence. He said Oshodi, Adewale and Agbele were also present.

“The money was counted. It was N724million. We were informed that there was a balance. We went back to the airport and picked N494million, the second time.

“The total cash amounted to N1.21billion. Another aircraft brought the N494million. I gathered that the cash was lodged into three bank accounts – those of De-Privateer, Spotless Investment and Ayodele Fayose.

“I also understand that some cash was taken away that day by Mr Agbele.”

Asked who Adewale was, he said: “Adewale O. introduced himself as Obanikoro’s ADC.”

Asked if he knew those who walked away from the aircraft when it landed, the witness said: “One of them resembled Obanikoro. I never met him in person. But he resembled the person I saw on television and newspapers.”

Under cross examination by defence counsel Ola Olanipekun (SAN) and Olalekan Ojo (SAN), the witness said he was not aware of where the money came from.

Asked if he knew what the money was meant for, he said: “Not at all.”

The court thereafter adjourned the trial to May 10 and 14 by 10am respectively.

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