An official of Zenith Bank who is an Assistant Manager, Ms. Ifeoma Ogbonnaya at the continuation of trial of former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, told the trial judge that the defendant and his wife, Margaret were not signatories to companies accounts allegedly owned by the couple.

She said this before Justice Rahman Oshodi of the Special Offences Court, Ikeja, on Wednesday during cross examination by the Defence Counsel to the first defendant, Mr. Olalekan Ojo, SAN,

Emefiele is standing trial over abuse of office, alleged $4.5 billion and N2.8 billion fraud while in office alongside Henry Omoile, a co-defendant.

Under cross-examination, Ogbonnaya told the court that she has additional certifications to her banking, the witness claimed she has a B.A in Archaeology and Tourism from University of Nigeria.

She said neither Godwin Emefiele’s wife nor the former governor were signatory to the three accounts namely Limelight Multidimensional Services Limited, Comec Support Services Limited and Andswin Resources and Solutions Limited.

According to her, the signatory to the accounts is one Mrs. Augustina.

She however maintained before the trial judge that transaction would not be processed until it was approved by Mrs. Emefiele.

The witness said: “l still maintain that Mrs. Margaret Emefiele gave me instructions through phone calls, WhatsApp chats and my official email.

“I saved Mrs. Emefiele’s number as ‘Mango’ on my phone and she has several numbers but I can only remember her foreign number which is +447941835451.

“The phone numbers are saved on my mobile device, IPhone 11 which are for my contact, both personal and official.

Ms. Ogbonnaya explained to the court that instructions to banks are not oral but in writing and before she came to court to give evidence, she has had opportunity to review the account opening of the three companies.

Ogbonnaya claimed that names of Godwin Emefiele and his wife did not appear as shareholders or signatories to the corporate accounts of the companies.

She added, “I did not come across any document in the account opening package that Mrs. Emefiele is a direct beneficial owner of the corporate accounts of the companies.

“There is a regulatory requirements on the collection of information on beneficial owners of a corporate account.

“There is a ‘Know Your Customer’, KYC platform through which banks collect information on the beneficial owner of an account but I was not involved at the initial opening of the account.

According to her, “When the former relationship officer left, I continued the relationship based on what the previous relationship officer has been managing them with.”

She said KYC was before the court and that financing risk assessment formed part of KYC.

She insisted that in the running of the business of banking, Zenith Bank followed guidelines as regards deposit and withdrawal funds.

She informed the court that there was no relationship between Emefiele and companies.

Justice Oshodi adjourned till October 28, for continuation of trial.

By News Connect Online

News Connect Online is a grassroot advocacy news platform established to promote development and peace through efficient and effective reportage across all beats. Beat: Education, Entertainment Environment Energy Business Health, Sport, Foreign News, Advocacy, Tourism, Transportation

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