Zenith Bank Fails To Remit Macmillian Payment To Malaysia Publisher – EFCC Witness

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has presented its first witness and tendered several documents against the Managing Director of Macmillan Nigerian Publishers Limited, Prof. Adesanya Adelekan, who is now at large, and the Executive Director, Finance for Macmillan, Fasasi Bola before a Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos.

EFCC had on Monday, June 20, 2022 arraigned the defendant before Justice Mojisola Dada on an amended six-count charge bordering on obtaining goods by false pretence.

However, Fasasi Bola pleaded “not guilty” to the charges.

Testifying as the first prosecution witness, Ahmed Suleiman, an investigative officer with the EFCC, who was led in evidence by the prosecuting counsel, Ayanfeoluwa Ogunsina, narrated how the company based in Malaysia petitioned the EFCC through its lawyers in Nigeria.

He told the court that sometime in 2018, the EFCC received a petition from BHS book Printing SDN BHD of Selangor Malaysia, through the High Refuge Attorney based in Nigeria, alleging that Macmillan Nigeria Publishers reneged on its promise to pay the sum of $833,561.71 being money for books it supplied from Malaysia for the use of Nigerian students.

He said that the said books were supplied to Macmillan Publishers in four weigh bills.

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“The first was with invoice number 1270 was dated 1-4-2018, the second was with invoice number 1278 dated 24-May-2018, the third with invoice number 127-1 was dated 24-May-2018 while the fourth with invoice number 1278-2 dated 6-8-2018.

“The value for all the invoices of the books supplied was valued at $833,561.71.”

He told the court that investigation into the allegation revealed that the said consignments were duly received and were cleared from the Nigerian Customs Service through the Tincan Island, Lagos.

“Macmillan Publishers also acknowledged receiving the books with an agreement that after delivery within 90 days, payment will be made to BHS foreign company based in Malaysia through their correspondent bank, Zenith Bank here in Nigeria,” he said.

He testified further that: “Unfortunately, Macmillan Publishers who are suppliers of books to the Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC and to other private individuals, supplied the said books to UBEC through their state counterparts and payments were made by UBEC to Macmillan through its account in Zenith Bank, with the understanding that Zenith Bank will remit the said funds to the BHS correspondent bank in Malaysia.”

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According to him, the bank did not remit the money as expected, because Macmillan was indebted to it, and so used the money to offset the debt.

“All efforts By Macmillan to pay back proved abortive, no kobo was left and afterwards Macmillan was suspended from supplying books to UBEC,” he said.

He testified further that in the course of the investigation, letters were written to the Nigerian Customs, the Attorney of the foreign Publishers, the Corporate Affairs Commission, the UBEC and the bank.

He thereafter identified the responses received, including the statements made by Fasasi, as Executive Director, Finance for Macmillan, and statements made by Prof. Adelekan, as Managing Director of Macmillan.

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The documents were tendered in evidence by the prosecution and admitted in evidence as Exhibits P1 to P6 as there was no objection raised by the defence.

The case has been adjourned till November 24, 2022 for continuation of trial.

One of the amended counts reads: “Macmillan Nigerian Publishers, Prof. Adesanya Iyiola Adelekan (now at large) and Fasasi Bola, sometimes in 2018 within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, conspired amongst yourselves to obtain goods by false pretence, property of BHS book Printing SDN BHD of Selangor Malaysia.”

Another count reads: “Macmillan Nigerian Publishers, Prof. Adesanya Iyiola Adelekan (now at large) and Fasasi Bola, sometimes in 2018 within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, obtained books for sale worth $156,711.87 by false pretence from BHS book Printing SDN BHD of Selangor Malaysia. Under the pretence that you would sell the books and remit the money from the sales within two weeks of receiving the Bill of Lading, which pretence you knew or ought to know is false.”

Wahab Akinlade

Akinlade I. WAHAB is a dedicated journalist and the proprietor of I-WAHAB Media. He embarked on his career at Murhi International TV (MiTV) and subsequently joined Radio Nigeria as a Judicial Correspondent.With a profound interest in legal reporting, he currently holds the positions of Chairman at the National Association of Judicial Correspondents (NAJUC), Ikeja Branch, and Chairman at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Radio Nigeria Chapel.As the owner of I-WAHAB Media, he has successfully established Top Court News, a platform renowned for providing comprehensive coverage of court cases and legal developments, with the aim of promoting transparency within the judicial system.Akinlade's diligent work and unwavering commitment to ethical reporting have earned him immense respect within the Nigerian journalism community.

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