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Alleged money laundering: Banker won’t confirm legitimacy of transactions with Adoke

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From Eric Ikhilae, Abuja

A former Acting Managing Director of Unity Bank Plc, Rislanudeen Mohammed, has said he could not determine whether or not the transactions he had with former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Justice Minister Mohammed Bello Adoke on a N300 million facility were legitimate.

Mohammed testified on Monday as the second prosecution witness during the resumed hearing in the money laundering trial of the ex-AGF and an Abuja-based businessman, Aliyu Abubakar, before a Federal High Court in Abuja.

The witness had told the court on August 13, 2020, that upon his appointment in August 2018, he discovered that Adoke got a N300 million loan from his bank, which he (Mohammed) later pressurised the ex-AGF to repay.

He said when Adoke wanted to repay the loan, the ex-AGF invited him to his house in Abuja and handed him $2,267,400 cash, which was later handed to a bureau de change (BDC) to convert to naira, and part of which was used to repay the loan.

Mohammed, who said all the transactions on the $2,267,400 were not captured in his bank’s record, added that he could not say whether or not they were legitimate or above board.

The banker spoke during cross-examination by the lead prosecution lawyer, Bala Sanga.

The lawyer was reacting to the witness’ earlier response during cross-examination by Adoke’s lawyer, Kanu Agabi (who is also a former AGF).

Agabi had, among others, asked the witness if he believed the transactions were transparent and above board, since he claimed to have acted as an agent of his bank and that the $2,267,400 was paid to a BDC, a financial institution, to be converted to naira.

Responding to another question from Sanga, the witness said he did not have the mandate of his bank to go to Adoke’s house to collect the $2,267,400 cash.

Mohammed said he did not report the transactions between him and Adoke to any lawful authority, like the Economic and Financial Commission (EFCC), the police and his bank, as suspicious transactions.

“At that point, I did not see anything suspicious in the transactions. The bank did not reprimand me for the transactions,” he said.

The witness said he acted as an agent of his bank when he collected the dollar in cash from Adoke, but that he did not issue Adoke a receipt or any other document for the transaction.

Justice Ekwo agreed to take the case today during which the defendants are expected to be arraigned afresh on the amended charge.

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