Two bank officials have told the Special Offences Court in Ikeja, Lagos, how over N200 million was paid into the account of a self-professed army general being prosecuted for fraud by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
EFCC is prosecuting Bolarinwa Abiodun on 13 counts of obtaining money by false pretence and fraud.
He allegedly defrauded the complainant of about N266 million by posing as a son of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The commission presented Chris Ekpe, a compliance officer with First Bank, and Emmanuel Emaikwo, a Relationship Manager with United Bank for Africa (UBA), to testify as prosecution witnesses in the trial on Wednesday.
According to the statement issued by the EFCC’s spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, Thursday, the witnesses confirmed the various transactions carried out on the defendant’s accounts with their respective banks.
Led in evidence by the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, Mr Ekpe, who testified as the second prosecution witness, told the court that the defendant effected a change of name on his bank account before he began using it to defraud his victim, Bamidele Safiriyu.
The witness also told the court that the bank, on February 2, 2017, received a notary publication dated December 20, 2016, with a letter of change of account name from Hassan Kareem Ayinde to Olusegun Abiodun Bolarinwa.
“The account balance of the defendant as at the time of the change of account name was N1,319.04,” he added.
According to the witness, after the change of name, huge sums of money started coming into the defendant’s account.
Thereafter, the prosecution tendered in evidence the EFCC letter of request sent to the bank, Certificate of Compliance and Identification, the response from the bank, and the account records of the defendant.
The court admitted the documents as exhibits, as there was no objection from the defence counsel, Kayode Lawal.
Testifying as the third witness, Mr Emaikwo similarly confirmed the various transactions carried out on the defendant’s account with UBA.
Afterwards, the prosecution sought a short adjournment to enable it to bring the investigative officer and a representative of the Nigeria Army to testify against the defendant.
The judge, Oluwatoyin Taiwo, adjourned the case until May 6 and 10.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported how Mr Safiriyu testified in April how the defendant allegedly defrauded him by posing as Mr Obasanjo’s son.
EFCC charged Mr Abiodun with obtaining money by false pretence, forgery of documents and possession of documents containing false pretence, among other charges.
The commission said the alleged fraud, involving about N266,500,000, was reported by Mr Safiriyu.
It said the defendant made false representations to the complainant that President Muhammadu Buhari had short-listed him and one other to be appointed as the Chief of Army Staff, COAS.
He had allegedly told the complainant that he needed a short grant to “press and process the appointment.”
Mr Abiodun, who was arrested at his house in the Alagbado area of Lagos State on Wednesday, January 12, 2022, also allegedly forged a letter of appointment as COAS purportedly signed by the president and showed the same to the victim to further prove his claim.
In the said letter, he claimed that he needed to pay a certain amount of money into the coffers of the Federal Government of Nigeria, as part of the requirements for the appointment as COAS.
Mr Abiodun is also alleged to have, in May 2020, forged a Nigeria Army Identity Card with serial number 387140, claiming the same to have been issued to him from the Nigerian Army.
He also allegedly forged a ‘Letter of Recommendation’ purportedly signed by former President Olusegun Obasanjo recommending one Adebayo Rasaq Adebola, with recruitment No 77RRI/OG/556/0032555 and Adeogun Emmanuel Adesola with recruitment No 77RRI/OG/352/0123751 for employment into the Nigeria Army.
The alleged offences are said to be contrary to section 1 (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Related Offences Act 2006; section 363 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2015 and Section 6 of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Related Offences Act No 14 of 2006, respectively.
The defendant pleaded not guilty to all the charges.