Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
Olabode Farinuola, a prosecution witness of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in the trial of Mr. Azibaola Robert, Managing Director of Oneplus Holdings and cousin to former President Goodluck Jonathan, on yesterday told a Federal High Court in Abuja that the $39.9 million paid to One-Plus Holdings by the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) was inconsequential as Azibaola was a “High Profile Net Worth Customer” of a new generation bank.
Farinuola, who is the bank’s Deputy Manager (Compliance), spoke while being cross-examined by counsel to Azibaola and his wife, Stella, Chief Gordy Uche (SAN).
He admitted that cash in flows into Oneplus and its sister company, Kakatar CE Limited, made Robert and his wife one of the bank’s biggest customers.
The bank official told the court that Oneplus and Kakatar CE had several big construction projects across the country and especially in Abuja.
“They are net-worth accounts with the bank. The accounts are very busy as the company is handling several high-profile construction projects for the federal government and its agences,” he told the court.
He said the bank had at no time had cause to doubt the integrity of Roberts and his companies.
However, Farinuola, who is the second prosecution witness in the case, told the court presided over by Justice Nnamdi Dimgba that he did not know the purpose $39.9 million was paid into OnePlus’ account by the ONSA, and the purpose for which it was disbursed.
The bank officer stated that the Bank complied with all regulations for opening a corporate account for Oneplus Holdings under the KYC (Know Your Customer) principle.
Asked if, as a compliance officer, the bank had ever received any complaint of any form of financial misconduct from any law enforcement agency, Fanriunola, said, ‘No’ and said that the only letter from EFCC to the bank requesting for the account package is what it had ever received. “No other agency has written to question any financial transaction by OnePlus Holdings,’ he said.
In his earlier testimony of October 6, led by EFCC counsel, Tahir, Farinuola had stated: “On January 22, 2016, we received a letter from EFCC on investigation activities on OnePlus Holdings Limited on the domiciliary account requesting for the account opening documentation, the statement of account, and a certificate of identification, which we forwarded to EFCC.”
But stated that he has neither met any of the accused persons, nor had anything to do with them or their companies.
On cross examination by the Roberts counsel, Gordy Uche (SAN), Mr. Farinuola reiterated that he has never met any of the accused persons in life, and was meeting them for the first time in court. But confirm that his bank classified them as High Networth Individuals (HNI), well respected by their bank.
Mr. and Mrs. Roberts are standing trial for allegedly receiving money from the ONSA in the last administration for the purposes of handling security matters for the state.
Robert Azibaola is the Managing Director of OnePlus Holdings Limited and Kakatar CE Limited.
Further hearing was adjourned to November 18, 2016, when the EFCC is expected to call another witness.