Saraki’s Trial : Witness Cross-examination Continues At CCT

The cross-examination of a witness in the trial of the Nigerian senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, at the Code of Conduct Tribunal on false asset … Continue reading Saraki’s Trial : Witness Cross-examination Continues At CCT


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Court-dockThe cross-examination of a witness in the trial of the Nigerian senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, at the Code of Conduct Tribunal on false asset declaration has continued.

Continuing with proceedings on Tuesday after the Chairman of the Tribunal, Mr Danladi Umar, ordered that only the lead counsel of the defendant should cross-examine the witness, a counsel to Dr. Saraki, Mr Paul Usoro, requested that the witness be given exhibit 1,3,15.

When asked about the numbering in MacDonald Street, the witness, who is an opertive of the anti-graft agency, Mr Michael Wetkas, maintained his testimony that number 15 was one and the same property.

He also told the Tribunal that the Presidential Implementation Committee (PIC) on the sales of the Federal Government properties did not tell them that they were two separate property and that the Managing Director of Carlisle Properties and Investment Limited did say that the property belonged to the Senate President.

Mr Wetkas also said that the defendant, in his asset declaration in 2011 and 2015, declared it as number 15 and not number 15 A and B, claiming that that was why the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) maintained the position that it was the same property.

He further said: “In fact, there is a letter written to the Senate President by the Ministry of Housing telling him that there is a presidential concession that number 15 MacDonald be sold to the defendant.

“All the while there was no mention of 15 A and B that is why we say that the nomenclature is just for the convenience of the defendant”.

Asking a follow up question, Mr Usoro pointed out the witness had brought new details into the mix.

He asked again: “What makes you think that the defendant by 2007, because you have earlier said it was not declared, what makes you think the defendant has expanded the property”?

Responding, the witness said he believes that “when you by a property you decide how to restructure or renovate it”.

“I did not ask him if he did the restructuring and remodelling,” he told the Tribunal, saying they believe that it is one and the same property.

The Tribunal then took him to page 187 of the document from the PIC, with the defence counsel asking when the letter by the occupant of number 15 Mr Eguwagu to the PIC was written. He responded, June 21, 2008.

The Counsel further asked if the petition came after the asset declaration of the Senate President. He said yes and explained that the asset declaration of the Senate President was done on July 11, 2007, about a year difference.

Mr Usoro further drilling him said: “According to the letter by Mr Eguwagu, is it true that he said curiously that nobody had approached me to say he or they have bought the property and that the property was handed over to him by Ministry of Housing and that he was still leaving in the property?

Mr Wetkas agreed that by the content of the letter by Mr Eguwagu was still leaving in the property by 2008 June.

He was also asked if Mr Egwuagu also said that nobody had approached him that they had bought the property including Tiny Tee.

The witness also agreed that Mr Egwuagu also attached some documents which included the content referred to by Mr Wetkas.

Mr Usoro then told the Tribunal that he withdrew an initial statement that Mr Wetkas lied, saying instead that he misrepresented the facts.

When Mr Wetkas was asked if he had any other documents that contradicted the information in Mr Egwuagu’s letter, he said he had none.

When asked if he said there was a letter written by the committee that the presidency had said the property should be given to the Senate President, Wetkas answered in the affirmative and also produced the letter as ordered by the Tribunal, which was the page 122 of exhibit 16.

He was then asked to read the document  and show anything in the letter that specifically showed that 15 A and B were not the same as he said earlier. He could not mention any part of the letter that contained that and then he told the Tribunal that there was nothing in the letter that said so.

He however, stressed that why he brought the letter was for prove that number 15 existed and that it was offered to the defendant because all the correspondence, with regards to the case all, mentioned Number 15 and not 15A and B .
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According to the letter, the then President, Mr Olusegun Obasanjo, gave special presidential concession to Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola.

When asked if he still stood by charge one that Saraki on September 16 2003, did make an anticipatory asset declaration of number 15A and B, which he claimed to have acquired in the year 2000, by his companies Tiny Tee and BT Oil Limited, he said that the bank record of payment showed the list of directors of Bt Oil.

He was asked if he investigated BT Oil, he told the Tribunal that he did not check, explaining that he was yet to established a link between BT Oil and Dr. Saraki.

He was then handed the joint report of the EFCC/Code of Conduct Bureau investigative team and he identified them as same.

The defence then asked that the document be tendered in evidence.