Alleged N8.5bn Fraud: Witness Explains How Atewe Bought 30,000 Shares from MTN Links

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A prosecution witness, Mr Howard Edafe, in the ongoing N8.5 billion fraud case involving a former Joint Military Task Force Commander, Mr Emmanuel Atewe, on March 12, 2020 told Justice Ayokunle Faji of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos how the retired Major-General bought 30,000 units of shares from MTN Links for N170.4 million between 2014 and 2015.

A statement issued by the Media and Publicity Department of the agency said Mr Edafe, who is currently an Internal Auditor with Stanbic IBTC bank, while being led-in-evidence by counsel for the EFCC, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, testified as the fourth prosecution witness, PW4.

Mr Atewe is standing trial alongside Patrick Akpobolokemi, a former Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Kime Enzogu and Josephine Otuaga on a 22-count charge of conspiracy, stealing and money laundering.

Mr Edafe was quoted in the statement as saying that, “Sometime between 2014 and 2015, Atewe expressed interest in buying 30,000 units of shares from MTN Links through his Stanbic IBTC stockbroker.

“Following the notification, various documents were completed and made available regarding the transaction and Atewe made transfers to his Stanbic IBTC Bank account for the transaction.

“Although Atewe is a client to Stanbic IBTC Asset Management Limited, which is domiciled with Stanbic IBTC bank, Stanbic IBTC Asset Management Limited and Stanbic IBTC Bank are both subsidiaries of Stanbic IBTC Holdings.

“After Mr Atewe showed interest in buying 30,000 units of shares, we valued it and documents were prepared.

“Documents that were prepared for the transaction are: Purchase Order Form, which reflected that a unit was purchased for $27; Share Transfer Form; Utility Bill; Application Form; Means of Identification, which was the client’s international passport; three copies of Confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement.

“Evidence of transfer of money, which was provided by Mr. Atewe; a letter from Atewe authorizing remit of proceeds to Standard Chartered Bank in favour of Mr. Atewe; and a letter informing Stanbic IBTC the intention of Mr Atewe to purchase 30,000 units of shares.”

Mr Edafe also confirmed that the 30,000 units of shares were bought for N170,350,000 and paid for in four tranches; two payments of N40 million and N10.4 million received from Lord Firm Engineering, and N70 million from INP Limited, while N50 million was received from Ocean Gas Limited.

Under cross-examination by the defence, Mr Edafe told the court that he never came across Mr Akpobolokemi’s name during the transaction and that he was not a beneficiary of the transaction.

Earlier in the course of proceedings, the third prosecution witness, Mr Gideon Dachung, a Forensic Analyst and Document Examiner with the EFCC was cross-examined by the defence.

He was shown Exhibit C24, Exhibit G9 and Exhibit G17, and asked if he could establish, by merely looking at the exhibits, that the signatures on them have pictorial resemblance or not.

When the witness compared Exhibit C24 to Exhibit G9 and Exhibit C24 to Exhibit G17, he told the court that the signatures on the documents had a similar pictorial resemblance.

He, however, told the court that the two signatures on Exhibit C24 did not have any pictorial resemblance.

The trial continues on March 25, 2020.

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