The embattled former Managing Director of Intercontinental Bank Plc (now Access Bank), Dr Erastus Akingbola, on Monday, stepped into the witness box to defend the allegation of stealing N47.1 billion levelled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Akingbola, led by his counsel, Chief Felix Fagbohungbe, SAN, put up a strong defense against several allegations of fraud levied against him.
On the 9.8 million Pounds Sterling he was alleged to have siphoned from the bank, Akingbola said, “My Lord, this is not correct because money was not paid from the bank’s NOSTRO account but through the NOSTRO account… Like any other customer of the bank or any Nigerian that needs foreign exchange, I commissioned the bank to buy them for me… I put the naira equivalent down before they bought the exchange and my transfers did not go through until the naira equivalent was in the hands of our foreign operations department staff.”
While denying ever transferring 8.5 million and 1.3 million Pounds Sterling belonging to the bank to Fulgher Solicitors, a United Kingdom-based law firm between March and July 2009, he acknowledged being the chairman and a signatory to the accounts of Tropics Securities Ltd, being managed by Dada, Tropics Property Ltd, Tropics Finance Ltd and Balkison Nigeria Ltd – companies to which the EFCC have accused him of transferring about N18.6 billion.
According to Akingbola, “I never processed, instructed or authorised such payments and neither did I receive any money from these companies, not to talk of stealing it. I am only a signatory to their accounts because I signed when the accounts were being opened about 15 years ago.”