Rotimi Jacobs, SAN with J.O. Adeyemi and S.A. Ogundele for the Prosecution.
Ola Olanipekun, SAN with Uche Njoku for the 1st Defendant.
Olalekan Ojo, SAN with Sunday Olowolafe and Akinwale Kolataiwo for the 2nd Defendant.
Court: The matter is for continuation of hearing.
Jacobs, SAN: We are ready for continuation of hearing.
PROSECUTION CALLS ADEDAMOLA OTUYALO – PW7
Witness sworn on oath and cautioned.
My name is Adedamola Otuyalo. I live at Plot 1261 Adeola Okwe, Victoria Island, Lagos.
As at the time of the transaction, I was heading the Cash in Transit Services of Diamond Bank. My unit was in charge of cash liquidity of the bank. We manage the cash transactions of the bank. That includes giving cash to branches that are in need and evacuating cash from branches tat have excess. We also handle large volume cash deposits and withdrawals from customers. Where we have excess cash, we move it to CBN or do cash swap with other banks. We also feed ATMs.
On 16 June 2014, I got an instruction from my director – Mr. Premier Oiwoh – to make payment of NGN1.2 billion to some beneficiaries listed on the document. He later came and said we should move the money to the airport that the beneficiary will be waiting for us at the airport. We put together cash and arranged big cash bags called jumbo bags. The customers I was given instruction to pay were about 5 or 6 – these were the named beneficiaries of the N1.2b.
After receiving instructions to move the cash to the airport, we moved the cash to the private wing of the Lagos airport. We could not access the wing because we needed security clearance. After sometime, we were granted access to go in. The person that accessed our clearance was later identified as Gbolahan Obanikoro. When we were processed in, someone I later identified to be Musliu Obanikoro came. My director called my line to identify him and spoke to him through my line as a way of confirming the person and to hand over the case to him. The cash was handed over to him and I reported to my director. I know that the cash was moved via aircrafts – about 2 or 3 aircrafts. I don’t know where it was moved. The cash was offloaded from the bullion to the aircraft. After the loading, we left the place and I reported to my director that we had carried out his instructions.
The beneficiaries listed on Exhibit E are 6. I was under instruction to hand over the money to Musliu Obanikoro. I did not see the beneficiaries listed on Exhibit E. In line with standard banking practice, any cash that will be given out must be acknowledged. I am sure Senator Obanikoro acknowledged receipt of the cash.
The identification stated on Exhibit reads that “each beneficiary is identified by me and means of identification waived.”
When making cash payment to a person, he would present an instruction to have his account debited; same is done and cash is released to the person. The person acknowledges thereafter and leaves. In respect of this case, the instruction came from the director and his instruction was carried out.
The same way the instruction on Exh E1 came is the way to in Exhibit E39, the 200m meant for Malik Bauchi as named beneficiary was directed to be paid to Senator Obanikoro. All the cash payments we made to Obanikoro, we used big bags we call jumbo bags. I recall that we use Ghana must go bags sometimes to package the money.
From Exhibit E, the account holder is Sylvan Mcnamara. I did not handle any other transaction with the Company.
Q: Do you remember making any statement to the EFCC about this transaction you narrated to the court?
Q: How many times did you make such statement to EFCC?
A: I cannot recall but we went there a couple of times and each time we were asked to make statement.
Q: You acted on the instructions of your director?
Q: Was the cheque presented to you?
A: No. It was a debit order and it was presented to my director
Q: You never saw the account holder when he made a request for that fund?
A: I did not see him.
Q: Was there any limit set as to the amount of cash payable to individuals at your bank at the time?
A: The bank did not set any limit.
Q: Are you aware of any cash limit payable to 3rd parties as set by the CBN and your bank?
A: I know that CBN had a set limit
Q: How much was the limit?
A: I can not remember what the limit was
Q: Did your bank operate within the CBN guideline?
A: What I got was an instruction but the details of the technicalities were not known to me.
Q: Did your bank comply with the CBN set limit?
A: I think the bank operated within the CBN set limit
Q: Were the 6 named beneficiaries individuals or corporate entities?
A: From the names on the document, they must be individuals.
Q: Were the statements you made to the EFCC in your handwriting?
Statements of Witness to EFCC admitted as exhibits F and F1
21 July 2016 – Exhibit F
28 July 2016 – Exhibit F1
Q: Who are the named beneficiaries in Exhibit F
A: Santuraki Bello – N200m;
Yusuf Bulama – N120m;
Chimenum Njoku – N250m;
Josiah Moses – N280m;
Abubakar Sadiq Zama – N200m;
Franklin Tolani – N150m.
Q: What is the total value of the sums?
Q; That was the only sum you processed as per your testimony
A: Yes, on this transaction.
Q: The defendants in this court are not listed as part of the beneficiaries
A: The name is not here.
Q: Are you not surprised that such huge sums of cash were to be paid in cash to the named individuals?
A: I was not surprised.
Q: The reason you were not surprised because these sums were within the cash limits of CBN payable to 3rd parties
A: It was instruction given by a director. It was within their rights and limits to do so. I am not surprised.
Q: You did not pay the monies to the beneficiaries because you did not see them.
A: It was who I was instructed to pay that I paid.
Q: When named beneficiaries are not available, what are you supposed to do?
A: I was told of a beneficiary and that was Musliu Obanikoro. I did exactly what I was asked to do.
Q: In the mandate of beneficiaries, was the name of Musliu Obanikoro listed?
A: No. his name is not listed.
Q: As at the date you handed the money to Obanikoro, you knew him to be Obanikoro
A: Yes. He was identified by my director.
Q: As for the instruction in the mandate, Obanikoro was not meant to be a beneficiary?
A: His name was not listed here.
Q: You would not know why you were asked to hand over the sums meant for the named beneficiaries to Obanikoro?
A: I wouldn’t know.
Q: You would also not know what your director did regarding the named beneficiaries?
A: I would not
Q: You would also not know if your boss got payment made to the named beneficiaries
A: I would not
Q: On the same 17 June 2014, your boss – Mr. Alex Otti gave you N60m to put in suspense account
A: I cannot remember. I don’t deal in suspense accounts.
Olanipekun SAN seeks to tender PW7 statement made on 26/10/16 identified by the witness. Rotimi Jacobs urged the court to admit it and that he will ensure to produce a certified copy of it on the next adjourned date. Olalekan Ojo SAN, not objecting.
Court: Copy of Statement of 26/10/16 admitted as Exhibit F2.
Q: All through the transaction, you were on the errand of Mr. Oiwoh, your director.
A: I was not on his errand. It was a transaction he asked me to carry out in my official capacity.
Q: Instead of paying the named beneficiaries, you paid Musliu Obanikoro because Mr. Oiwoh said so
Q: You paid these monies in cash because Mr. Oiwoh said so
Q: Instead of paying it at the bank, you took it to the airport because Mr. Oiwoh said so
Q: Is it true that ordinarily, funds are paid to customers in the bank premises?
A: Not true
Cross Examination by Olalekan Ojo SAN:
Q: How long have you been involved in cash in transit unit for the bank?
A: About 6 – 7 years
Q: You have also been involved in payments and receipts of cash for the bank?
Q: Tell the court the importance of documenting payment transactions and/or receipt transactions in the banking world
A: For documentation and record purposes.
Q: What is the importance of documentation?
A: It is for reference
Q: It is for evidence of payment or receipt. Correct?
Q: CBN Guidelines on cash limits are meant for all staff of the bank and not directors only. Correct?
A: Yes. Everyone must comply.
Q: If Mr. Oiwoh gives you an instruction that does not comply with CBN directive, will you obey it?
A: I will not
Q: What do you understand by the word documentation?
A: Keeping appropriate records that go with a specific transaction.
Q: There is nothing like oral record?
A: Nothing like that
Q: Due to the huge nature of this transaction, documentation was necessary and imperative?
Q: In your statements to the EFCC – Exhibit F series, you did not mention that there was any documentation of the transactions – payment and receipt. Did you?
A: I did
Q: In the whole of Exhibit F series, you did not refer to the documentation of the alleged receipt of any of the funds by the person to whom he allegedly paid the monies
A: I did not.
Q: Did you present to the EFCC any documentary proof of the alleged instruction from your boss for you to pay the monies to Obanikoro
A: It was a verbal instruction
Q: Did you produce any documentary evidence to the EFCC that Obanikoro is the account holder of Sylvan MacNamaran account?
A: I did not because I was not asked to.
Q: Have you come across any document showing that Senator Musliu Obanikoro is the account holder of Sylvan MacNamaran in Diamond Bank?
A: I have never sighted it.
Q: Exhibit E contains an instruction in writing. Do you confirm to the court that the variation of that instruction must come from the signatory who issued the instruction in writing?
Q: Did the signatory to the payment instruction in Exhibit E series vary that instruction?
A: I am not aware that the instruction was varied. What I am aware of is that even the source document – the debit order from the customer – my unit does not debit transactions. Thus, it is not for my unit to ascertain whether the debit was according to a customer’s instruction. The unit that deals with customer mandate is Treasury Unit.
Q: Please also confirm that the variation of an instruction in writing must also be in writing
A: Yes. The variation must be in writing.
Q: Was the oral instruction your boss gave to you to hand over the money to Senator Musliu Obanikoro subsequently reduced to writing?
A: I am not aware.
Q: Did your boss show you any document or tell you that Senator Obanikoro is the account holder?
A: He did not tell me. He simply asked me to hand him the cash
Q: What is Exhibit E19 about?
A: It is an extract from Minutes of Meeting of Board Resolution appointing one Olalekan Ogunseye as the sole signatory to the account of Sylvan Mc Namaran.
Q: In Exhibt E11, there is a limit to cash withdrawal stated on it
A: Yes. N3.5m
Q: Only a signatory to the account can bring instruction increasing the cash withdrawal limit?
Q: Please confirm to the court from Exhibits E9 and E10 that Senator Musliu Obanikoro is not a director of Sylvan McNamaran
Q: Also confirm from Exhibit E10 that Senator Obanikoro is not a shareholder in Sylvan MacNamaran?
A: His name is not there
Q: Contrary to your evidence in court this morning, you did not state anywhere in Exhibit F series that you gave the N200m to Senator Musliu Obanikoro
A: Let me see my statement
Q: In Exhibit F1 made when the facts were fresh in your memory, you did mention that you gave the N200m to Senator Obanikoro
A: I did not state so.
Q: From all the documents you have seen today, Senator Musliu Obanikoro is not the account holder of Sylvan McNamaran?
A: From what have seen, he is not.
Q: You stated in Exhibit F1 and in your evidence today, you stated that the sum of N200m was given to the account holder
Q: In Exhibit F1, you said you gave the N200m to the account holder of Sylvan McNamaran on the instruction of your boss?
Q: Today, you also told the court that you gave the N200m to the account holder on the instruction of your boss?
Q: You have also confirmed that Senator Obanikoro is not the account holder?
Q: After carrying out the instruction of your boss and handing over the money to Senator Obanikoro, did you write any report to your bank?
A: I did not. I verbally informed my boss.
Q: Do you know the person that gave the waiver on identification of beneficiaries in Exhibit E
A: I do not know
Q: After you delivered the money to Obanikoro at the private wing of the airport, you left for your office?
Q: You did not state in your Exhibit F series that you were granted access to the tarmac of the airport where the aircraft was parked?
A: Yes, I stated in my statement that I was admitted to the tarmac for the bullion van to load the cash into the aircraft. In Exhibit F I stated that the cash was offloaded into the aircraft which flew out of the airport. “When we eventually gained entrance inot the private wing, Mr Obanikoro came with two policemen and cash was offloaded into the first aircraft which flew out of the airport.
Q: Did you get to the tarmac?
A: I got to the tarmac where the aircraft was.
Q: What was the distance between the private wing where you met Senator Obanikoro and the tarmac
A: It is within the same premises – within the same private wing.
Q: Did Senator Obanikoro acknowledge receipt of the sum of N1.2billion you gave to him?
A: He did
Q: What document did he give you?
A: To acknowledge receipt
Q: To whom did you hand over the document he gave to you?
A: Transactional documents are filed
Q: So you filed it?
Q: Were you the one that filed it?
A: I cannot recollect
Q: Did you make any reference in your statements to the EFCC about Senator Obanikoro giving you a written acknowledgement and you filing the acknowledgment when you got to your office?
A: I did not
Q: Did you produce them to the officials of the EFCC?
A: I did not because I was not asked.
Q: Do you remember giving evidence in this matter before Hon. Justcie Olatoregun
Q: Do you confirm that you did not tell that court that Senator Obanikoro gave you written acknowledgement of receipt of the N1.2b and that you filed the acknowledgment in your bank?
A. I do not recall but I think I did. Show me the record let me check. I can see it here. I said so that Senator Obanikoro signed off and that the record is in our head office. This transaction relates to the N1.2billion.
Q: You do not know what happened to the money after handing it over to Senator Obanikoro?
A: I don’t know.
CTC of proceedings before Olatoregun J admitted as Exhibit F3.
Q: From Exhibit F3, all that you refer to as evidence of collection of the money by Senator Obanikoro was your statement of 21/07/2016 to the EFCC
Q: From Exhibit E series, please confirm to the court that there is nothing showing that Obanikoro signed as having received any money from you?
A: Based on this, there is nothing.
Q: The 1st defendant is not one of the beneficiaries listed in Exhibit E
A: He is not
Q: What of the 2nd defendant?
A: It is not.
It is the documents shown to me in court that I was referring to when I testified before Hon. Justice Olatoregun that in line with standard practice, when you give cash out, the person will sign and that the document will be available in the office.