Bank Director Transferred 20m Shares –Witness

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A prosecution witness, Mr Tajudeen Idowu, on Monday told an Ikeja High Court how 20 million units of Finbank Plc shares were transferred to a former director of the bank, Dayo Famoroti.

Idowu testified at the resumed trial of Famoroti.

Famoroti is standing trial alongside former Managing Director of the bank, Okey Nwosu, and two other ex-directors, Agnes Ebubedike and Danjuma Ocholi, for allegedly stealing N10.9 billion belonging to the bank.

The money was allegedly stolen between September, 2006 and November, 2007.

They are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) which arraigned them on May 10 before Justice Lateefat Okunnu on a 26-count amended charge.

Idowu, Managing Director of Fin Registrars, testified that he was approached by Mr Akpan Okon, Head of Investment Banking, Finbank Plc, in 2006 over transfer of some Finbank shares.

He was led in evidence by EFCC counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs.

“These shares were in seven corporate names and he said we should consolidate the shares into three names which we did and issued share certificates in those three names which were delivered to him,” Idowu said.

Idowu alleged that 20 million units of the consolidated shares were transferred to Famoroti, but said that he was not aware whether the accused paid for the shares.

The witness said that the certificates were transferred to different companies and individuals including Abubakar Nuhu, a former Executive Director of Finbank.

He said that the companies which acquired the shares included Bush Machine Ltd., Eureka Ventures, Coastal Lake Nig. Ltd., Scanner Investment and Ferbone Real Estate Ltd.

Under cross-examination by Ocholi’s counsel, Mr Lanre Ogunlesi, the witness said that he was not instructed by Ocholi to transfer any shares to him and did not make any statement to that effect.

He said it was not his duty to verify if money was paid for the shares, noting that his responsibility was to maintain the shareholders’ register.

“Before we effect a transfer, we assume that money has been paid. I did not bother to crosscheck because it is not part of my responsibilities,” he said.

Earlier, the judge dismissed an application for stay of proceedings filed by Nwosu, Famoroti and Ebubedike.

The trio had asked the court to stay proceedings in their trial pending the hearing and determination of an appeal they filed before the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal.

The judge held that Section 277 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State forbade her to entertain it.

According to her, filing of an appeal at an appellate court does not guarantee a stay of proceedings at a high court.

The trial of the former bank directors will continue on Sept. 6.