Mr. Owolanke Michael, a prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of Clement Faboyode, Chairman, Ondo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and Modupe Adetokunbo, former Director-General, Goodluck Jonathan/Namadi Sambo 2015 Presidential Organisation, on Friday, March 29, 2019 told Justice Saliu Saidu of the Federal High Court, sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos how he paid the defendants the sum of N500, 000,000 (Five Hundred Million Naira) only on instruction given to him. Michael was Head of Operations in one of the branches of Fidelity Bank Plc in Akure, Ondo State.
The defendants were first arraigned on Friday, June 29, 2018 on a three-count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of N500, 000, 000 (Five Hundred Million Naira).
One of the counts reads: “That you, Clement Faboyede, Modupe Adetokunbo and others at large, on or about the 27th day of March, 2015 in Nigeria, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, conspired amongst yourselves to accept cash payment of the sum of N500,000,000 (Five Hundred Million Naira) only, without going through a financial institution contrary to Section 18 and punishable under Section 16(2)of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended by Act No.1 of 2012).”
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They pleaded not guilty to the charges, opening the way for their trial.
At the resumed hearing of the matter today, Michael told the court that he received instructions from his supervisors in Lagos to pay the defendants the said sum.
Michael, who was led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Ekene Iheanacho, further told the court that the defendants acknowledged the receipt of the money and also provided their means of identification.
“The money was arranged in ‘Ghana- must- go’ bags and loaded into two Hilux vehicles,” Michael further disclosed.
The prosecution counsel tendered the acknowledged receipts of the money by the defendants as well as the means of identification they used to receive the money in evidence, admitted by Justice Saidu as exhibit CF1.
When asked during further cross-examination to name the source of the money and who provided the bullion van used to convey it, the witness informed the court that the money came from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and that exhibit CF1 was proof that he complied with the instructions given to him.
He further revealed that the bullion van used in conveying the money from the CBN belonged to Fidelity Bank, while the defendants used two Hilux vans to convey the money from the bank.
When asked why the acknowledged receipts had no logo or stamp of the bank, the witness explained that they were made for the purpose of that particular transaction owing to the fact that the defendants were not customers of the bank.
During Michael’s cross-examination by counsel to the defendant, J.O. Odubela, SAN, the witness was asked to identify his statement to the EFCC, which he did and it was admitted in evidence as exhibit CF2 by Justice Saidu.
The judge adjourned the case to April 4 and May 16, 2019 for continuation of trial.