IN a court sitting today, Olubunmi Odeniyi, provost of the Ikeja branch, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has testified against Adesina Ogunlana and Yinka Farounbi, former chairmen of the branch whom the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned for stealing N20.1 million.
The commission disclosed this in a press release made available to journalists on Tuesday. The release was signed by Tony Orilade, the EFCC’s Acting Head of Media and Publicity.
Both Ogunlana and Farounbi were arraigned alongside Kappo Aderinola, a former Treasurer in May 22, based on a 30-count charge. The charges tantamount to conspiracy of committing felony, money laundering and stealing to the tune of N20, 100, 000, property of the NBA.
Farounbi functioned as Chairman NBA, Ikeja Branch between 2014 and 2016 with Aderinola serving as treasurer. Ogunlana was the branch boss between 2016 and 2018.
At the resumed hearing today, The NBA provost told the court that insurance premium funds paid by members of the association were not remitted to any insurance company during the administrations of the ex-NBA heads, contrary to their claims.
He said his investigation showed that both Farounbi and Aderinola, who were signatories to the accounts signed some cheques at different times without appropriate authorisation. While they also gave some cheques to Ogunlana, Farounbi’s successor, to cash fraudulently.
Continue in his testimony, Odeniyi said his claims were based on investigation he had carried out on the activities of the defendants. And he found out the abnormalities in the insurance premium funds during the tenures of the defendants.
But under cross-examination by the defence, Odeniyi clarified that his investigation was limited to findings on the insurance premium and not signing of cheques. And that he was not aware if Ogunlana signed some cheques after the expiration of his tenure as the chairman.
Another EFCC witness, Caroline Iwayoyanfe who is a former vice chairman, in her evidence narrated in the court that between 2016 and 2018, the executives rarely held meetings. When meetings held, she said there was never a time the defendants authorised the signing of any cheques or discussed such issues.
Iwayoyanfe noted that EFCC had called her to testify in court on the case.
“I was invited by the EFCC to talk and write regarding authorisation of some financial transactions and signing of cheques by the defendants,” she opened up.
“I went to the EFCC office and wrote a statement, informing the Commission that I know nothing about any authorisation of any transaction or signing of cheques carried out by the defendants.”
During cross-examination, Iwayoyanfe admitted that she was not aware of any payment to the first defendant’s account.
“The expenses of the Association were silently done by the second defendants,” she added.
Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, adjourned the case till Wednesday for the continuation of trial.