The trial of former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Bello Adoke and Aliyu Aliyu Abubakar kicked off on Thursday, August 13, 2020, before Justice I.E. Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, with the presentation of prosecution witnesses, one and two (PW 1 and 2) by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The second prosecution witness (PW2), Rislanudeen Muhammad, who is the former chief executive officer and managing director, Unity Bank, led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Bala Sanga, told the court how he pressured Adoke to repay about N300 million loan, the equivalent of $2 million (Two Million Dollars), granted him by Unity Bank over a period of five years.
Muhammad, who identified Adoke as his friend since 1990, stated that though he accepted the loan repayment from Adoke on behalf of the bank, he was not aware if the former minister repaid it from proceeds of crime.
“I accepted the money from Adoke on behalf of the bank, and it is in the discharge of an obligation to the bank. I received the money as an agent of the bank. The money was a loan and it was repaid”, he said
He further stated, “I have no reason to believe that the money was proceeds of crime. The account was opened almost before he took the loan. The deed of property that was used as collateral for the loan was released when the payment was made”.
According to him, for failing to repay the loan on time, the CBN threatened to put Adoke’s account on hold and list it as one belonging to a politically exposed person, stating that his concern was to make sure that the loan was repaid so that Adoke’s name would be cleared.
The first prosecution witness, (PW1), Clement Osagie, a senior official of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, narrated to the court how the apex bank is guided on its foreign exchange operations.
According to Osagie, the Information Technology Unit of the CBN is the service provider of the apex bank, stating that, there are different markets from which the CBN buys and sells foreign currencies, adding that the apex bank usually makes wholesale and retail interventions in the interbank market.
After cross-examination of the PW2, by Adoke’s counsel, Kanu Agabi, SAN, Justice Ekwo, adjourned the matter to September 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11, 2020, for a continuation of trial.
The EFCC is prosecuting Adoke on 14-count amended counts charges of money laundering to the tune of over $6,000,000 (Six million US Dollars).