Akure branch manager of the Zenith Bank Plc, in Ekiti State, Sunday Alade has given a graphic description of how the sum of N1.2 Billion allegedly belonging to the former governor of the State under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ayodele Fayose, was transferred from Lagos and lodged in the branch.
Sunday Alade, who served as branch manager of the bank in 2014 when the money was moved to his branch, appeared in court today as a prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of Fayose.
Fayose is currently standing trial alongside a company, Sportless Investment, before the Federal High Court, Lagos. The duo, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge bordering on fraud and money laundering slammed on them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Led in evidence by prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), Sunday Alade said that he got a call from his head of operations asking him to prepare to head for Akure Airport to receive huge cash from a customer.
“On the 17th of June 2014, I was in my office in Zenith Bank, Akure when I received a call from my head of operations, Abiodun Oshodi, that a customer would be coming to make a deposit into his account with the bank.
“He said in order to provide security, we should arrange for a bullion van to go to the airport to pick the cash.
“After an hour, my head, Abiodun Oshodi, came and said the customer had arrived. He introduced Abiodun Agbele as the customer.
“He said we should prepare to go to the airport. I asked for time to arrange for security, but they said that won’t be necessary as they had sufficient security. They came with Mopol and some soldiers in a Toyota Hilux van.”
Ex bank branch manager said that he joined Oshodi and Agbele to the airport, along with the bullion van and the security men, adding: “at the airport, we waited for a few minutes before the arrival of the aircraft. Three individuals came out of the aircraft.
“Two of them walked away. The remaining person introduced himself as O. Adewale. The cash was offloaded into the bullion van and we drove to Zenith Bank Akure.”
Alade said that when they arrived at the bank, the money was counted in his presence. He said Oshodi, Adewale and Agbele were also present.
“The money was counted. It was N724million. We were informed that there was a balance. We went back to the airport and picked N494million the second time.
“The total cash amounted to N1.219billion. Another aircraft brought the N494million. I gathered that the cash was lodged into three bank accounts – those of De-Privateer, Spotless Investment and Ayodele Fayose.
“I also understand some cash was taken away that day by Mr Agbele.”
Asked who Adewale was, he said: “Adewale O introduced himself as Obanikoro’s ADC.”
Asked if he knew those who walked away from the aircraft when it landed, the witness said: “One of them resembled Obanikoro. I never met him in person. But he resembled the person I saw on television and newspapers.”
Under cross-examination by defence counsel Ola Olanipekun (SAN), and Olalekan Ojo (SAN), the witness said he was not aware of where the money came from.
Asked if he knew what the money was meant for, he said: “Not at all.”
The trial continues on May 10 and 14.