Alleged bribery: Two bankers testify in Shehu Sani’s trial; Sowore in court


Two workers of the Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), on Tuesday, gave their evidence in the ongoing trial of Sen. Shehu Sani, former lawmaker representing Kaduna Central at the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Beckley Ojo and Elizabeth Nwoka, who were compliance officers with the bank, testified before Justice Inyang Ekwo in a two-count charge of bribery and advanced fee fraud levied against Sani by the EFCC.
The EFCC had, on January 27, arraigned the former lawmaker, who was arrested in December 2019 for allegedly “collecting $25,000″ in the name of the EFCC acting chairman, Ibrahim Magu.
He, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Justice Ekwo, after listening to counsel to parties on the day of arraignment, had granted Sani, who had been in the EFCC custody a N10 million bail with a surety in the like sum.
At the resumed hearing on Tuesday, the EFCC lawyer, Abba Mohammed, informed the court that the matter was slated for hearing and that he had the prosecution witnesses in court.
Giving his evidence-in-chief, the first prosecution witness (PW1), Beckley Ojo, who said he had been with the bank for thirteen years, said as compliant officer, he liaised with bank regulators and law enforcement agencies, including the police, EFCC, NDIC, etc.

He said on Feb. 17, he was invited by the anti-graft agency on a matter involving the A.S.D. Motors.

“I received the letter from an agent of EFCC in my office.

“First, I have to generate the statement of account of A.S.D. Motors to get the instrument used in the transaction, the account opening document, etc,” he said.

When asked by Mohammed on how the transaction was carried out, the witness said: “An in-house cheque of GTB was used in carrying out the transaction.

“I generated a statement of the beneficiary, issued a certificate of compliance which I signed, prepared a cover letter which was signed by myself and a colleague, and then forwarded same to EFCC.”

After Ojo confirmed the documents presented by the EFCC lawyer, which include a certificate of compliance, a copy of the cheque used, the statement of account and account opening package of the beneficiary, etc, Justice Ekwo admitted them in evidence.

According to the witness, the name of the account beneficiary is Sheriff Zelani Shanono.
He told the court that from the account opening package and certificate of identification of Sheriff Zelani Shanono on page 34 of the document, the sum of N3, 590, 000 was credited into the beneficiary’s account from A.S.D. Motors Nigeria Ltd through a transfer on Dec. 2, 2019.
Ojo restated that the cheque was an instruction in favour of GTB to transfer the sum to Sheriff Zalani Shanunu.

He said he did nothing else on the account other than all that the anti-corruption agency requested from the bank.

Sani’s lawyer, Abdul Ibrahim, SAN, only asked the witness a question.

He asked Ojo: “Is that Sheriff Zelani Shanono (pointing to Sen. Sani, his client)?”

“I wouldn’t know sir,” Ojo responded.

Also testifying, the second prosecution witness (PW2), Elizabeth Nwoka, told the court she had been with the bank for seven years and as a compliant officer for about eight months.

She said she received a letter to appear before the court based on the report about A.S
D. Motors Nig Ltd.

After identifying the documents presented to her by the EFCC lawyer, Justice Ekwo admitted them in evidence.

When one of the exhibits was presented to Nwoka and Mohammed told her to explained the transaction on page 91 and 92 to the court, she said: “I have a debit transaction of N5 million carried out on the Nov. 20 2019 from the account of A.S.D. Motors Nigeria Ltd to Abubakar Ahmad of Zenith Bank. It was a transfer from A.S.D. Motors Nigeria Ltd to Abubakar Ahmad.

“Also, on the Dec. 2, 2019, it was a debit transaction of N3, 590, 000 from A.S.D. Motors Nigeria Ltd to Sheriff Z. Shanono of G.T. Bank.”

The PW2, who told the court that A.S. Dauda Enterprise Ltd was the account holder, said Alhaji Sani Dauda was the authorised signatory to the account.

Again, the senator’s counsel, Ibrahim, only asked the EFCC witness a question during the cross examination.

“Is that Alhaji Sani Dauda?,” he asked Nwoka.

“I can neither confirm,” the witness, who was a bit confused, responded.

Justice Ekwo then told the defendant counsel to reframe the question so that the witness could understand what he meant.

Ibrahim then asked Nwoka: “Do u know the defendant?”

“I don’t know the defendant,” the EFCC witness replied.

Justice Ekwo, after the witness was dismissed from the witness box, adjourned the trial continuation till Feb. 26.

Among the people in the court, was Omoyele Sowore, Convener, #RevolutionNow, who is standing trial for charges bordering on treasonable felony.

Sani, was said to have collected $15,000 from one Sani Dauda under false pretence on Nov. 20, 2019, promising to give Ibrahim Muhammad, the chief justice of Nigeria, in other to influence some pending cases in court.
He also allegedly collected $10,000 from Dauda to bribe Magu, acting chairman of the EFCC.


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