The Provost of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Ikeja Branch, Lagos, Olubunmi Odeniyi, on Tuesday, July 9, 2019, told Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, how insurance premium funds paid by members of the association were not remitted to any insurance company during the administrations of two former chairmen of the Association, Adesina Ogunlana and Yinka Farounbi, respectively.
Both Ogunlana and Farounbi were arraigned alongside Kappo Aderinola, a former Treasurer of the NBA, Ikeja branch, on Wednesday, May 22, 2019, on a 30-count charge bordering on conspiracy to commit felony, money laundering and stealing to the tune of N20, 100, 000.00 (Twenty million, One Hundred Thousand Naira), property of the NBA.
The second and third defendants, Farounbi and Aderinola, who were signatories to the accounts of the NBA, Ikeja branch, allegedly signed some cheques at different times without appropriate authorisation.
They also allegedly gave the cheques to the first defendant, Ogunlana, to cash fraudulently.
At the resumed hearing today, Odeniyi told the court that his investigations revealed that premiums paid by members of the association were not remitted to any insurance company, contrary to the claims by the defendants.
In his further testimony, Odeniyi, who is the second prosecution witness, PW2, told the court that he commenced investigation into the activities of the defendants and came out with his findings, after he was briefed by a member who alleged that the Association had not paid him any entitlement from the insurance policy.
Led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Samuel Daji, the PW2 also told the court that he found out abnormalities in the insurance premium funds during the regimes of the defendants.
Odeniyi, under cross-examination by the defence, told the court that his investigation was limited to findings on the insurance premium and not signing of cheques.
Odeniyi also admitted that he was not aware that the first defendant signed some cheques after expiration of his tenure in office as the chairman.
In her evidence, a third prosecution witness, Caroline Iwayoyanfe, told the court that she got a call from an officer of the EFCC sometime in March 2019, informing her of a petition written to the Commission by NBA, Ikeja members against the defendants and that she would need to “throw light in respect of the petition.”
Iwayoyanfe, who is a former Vice Chairman and member of the Association, further told the court that: “I was invited by the EFCC to talk and write regarding authorisation of some financial transactions and signing of cheques by the defendants.
“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.”
Giving further evidence, she said between 2016 and 2018 when she served as Vice Chairman, the executives (defendants) rarely held meetings and that when Exco meetings were held, there was never a time where the defendants authorised the signing of any cheques or discussed such issues.
During cross examination, she 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 Dada adjourned the case till July 10, 2019 for continuation of trial.