Emefiele, Wife not signatories to companies’ accounts – Witness

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The trial of former Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele continued on Wednesday at the Lagos High Court, Ikeja, with testimony from Zenith Bank plc’s business relationship manager, Ifeoma Ogbonnaya.

Continuing from her testimony on Tuesday, Ogbonnaya informed the court that there was no connection between Emefiele and the companies in question.

During cross-examination by Emefiele’s counsel, Olalekan Ojo, SAN, the witness confirmed that neither the former governor nor his wife were signatories to the accounts of three private companies: Limelight Multidimensional Services Ltd, Comec Support Services Ltd, and Andswin Resources Ltd.

She reiterated that transactions involving these companies required approval from Mrs Emefiele.

“I still maintain that Mrs Margaret Emefiele gave me instructions through phone calls, WhatsApp chat, and my official email,” the witness said.

“I saved Mrs Emefiele’s number as ‘Margo’ on my phone. She has several numbers, but I can only recall her foreign number, which is +447941835451. The phone numbers are saved on my mobile device, an iPhone 11, which contains both personal and official contacts.”

The witness further explained that bank instructions must be in writing and that she had reviewed the account openings of the three companies before testifying.

Ogbonnaya maintained that neither Emefiele’s name nor his wife’s appeared as shareholders or signatories on the corporate accounts of the companies.

She listed the shareholders of Limelight Multidimensional Ltd as Mr Stephen Ogwa, Patricia Essan, Bruce Olotu, Agustina Omoile, Oriekose Agustina, and Ibrahim Oluwadamilare, noting that Bruce Olotu held the largest share of 600,000.

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

“There are regulatory requirements for collecting information on the beneficial owners of corporate accounts. Banks use a Know Your Customer (KYC) platform to gather this information, but I was not involved in the initial account opening. When the previous relationship officer left, I continued the relationship based on their management.”

The witness also said that KYC was before the court and that financing risk assessment was part of KYC.

She confirmed that Zenith Bank adhered to guidelines regarding deposit and withdrawal funds in its banking operations.