By Alex Enumah
A former Acting Managing Director of Unity Bank PLC, Mr Rislanudeen Mohammed, admitted on Thursday that the $2.2 million the bank received from the former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr Bello Adoke (SAN), was for the repayment of a N300 million loan he obtained from the bank.
This is coming as the trial judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo, warned reporters to stop linking the trial with the Malabu oil issue, adding that they have access to court records and should ask if they need clarification.
Adoke and a businessman, Mr Aliyu Abubakar, are standing trial on a 14-count amended criminal charge bordering on alleged money laundering and corruption preferred against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Mohammed, a second witness of the EFCC, in his evidence, told the court how Adoke obtained a loan of N300 million from the bank and the efforts he made to ensure Adoke repay the loan.
He said that the money was finally liquidated after Adoke handed him the sum of $2.2 million and when converted to naira exceeded the principal loan.
He further disclosed that the former AGF collected the balance and closed the account after the bank deducted all necessary interest regarding the transaction.
Under cross examination by Adoke’s lawyer, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), the witness admitted accepting $2.2 million on behalf of the bank to liquidate the loan.
He further stated that the $2.2 million was not a proceed of crime because it was in repayment of a loan Adoke obtained from the bank.
“I received the money as an agent of the bank. The money is not available to be confiscated because it is not a proceed of crime.
“I have no reason to believe it is a proceed of crime. The money is not in Adoke’s account because it belongs to the bank,” he said.
The witness further told the court that collecting the money from Adoke’s house did not in anyway constitute an offence because he acted as an agent of the bank.
Speaking further, the witness said upon the full payment of the loan, the title deed used as security was released by the bank to the second defendant as an indication that the loan has been fully defrayed.
Earlier, the first prosecution witness, a manager in charge of foreign exchange trade at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Clement Osagie, tendered foreign exchange transaction rates covering August, September and October, 2013 and was admitted as exhibits.
Under cross examination by Olalekan Ojo (SAN), lawyer to the second defendant, the witness, who stated that the documents tendered were generated from the electronic system of the CBN, added that he was not a manner of staff of the Information Technology (IT) department of the CBN.
In response to a question, Osagie said that the CBN’s licensed Bureau de Change (BDX) operators and files report of transactions in CBN forex which are kept by the Trade and Exchange Department but he cannot talk on the activities of the BDX.
While admitting that he does not know the defendants in the case, he disclosed that his statement to the EFCC was made after the last court’s proceedings, adding that: “I thought I would just come and tender the documents before the court and go.”
Trial however has been adjourned to September 7 for continuation of cross examination of the second prosecution witness.