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N8.5bn fraud: How accused defrauded banks of N340m — WITNESS

By Ola Ajayi

ONE of the prosecution witnesses in the on-going trial of three staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria and staff of other commercial banks over alleged stealing of N8.5bn, yesterday told a Federal High Court in Ibadan how the  accused allegedly defrauded both the apex bank and Wema Bank of the sum of N340m.

While narrating how the shady deals were done, Mrs Abosede Oyelakin, a staff of Wema Bank Oyelakin explained that Ademola Oni and Esther Afolabi were instrumental to how the banks lost over N340 million in the mutilated currency deals between 2010 and 2013.

Three CBN staff, who are standing trial are Kolawole Babalola, Olaniran Muniru Adeola and Toogun Kayode Philip while the Wema Bank staff are Ademola Oni, Esther Afolabi and Ademola Ebenezer Adewale.

They and other accused are being tried for a 20-count charge of conspiring to defraud the banks in the mutilated currency scam.

Oyelakin, who introduced herself as the Team Leader, Inspection Department at the South west Regional Office of Wema Bank, in Ibadan, said the accused persons allegedly changed several packs of N1,000 mutilated currency with N10, N20, N50 and lower denominations to gain over N340 million.

The boxes which should have contained N1.7bn were delivered to the CBN after which a petition exposed the dirty deals.

Mrs Oyelakin said, “What I also observed was that, though the wrappers were those of Wema Bank, about 95 per cent of them were without signatures. Whereas what operates at Wema Bank is that tellers sign on the wrappers from the branches, stamp them and hand over to the Head of Tellers.”

“ Then, the head takes them to the volt after he or she initials them to confirm that they are correct,”  she said

The court then adjourned cross-examination of witness to June 20 by Justice Joyce Abdulmalik.



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