Saraki’s Trial Continues With More Drilling For Wetkas

The cross-examination of an operative of the anti-graft agency and prosecution witness, Mr Michael Wetkas, in the trial of the Nigerian Senate President, Dr. Bukola … Continue reading Saraki’s Trial Continues With More Drilling For Wetkas

CCT, Bukola Saraki, Danladi Umar,
A file photo of former Senate President Bukola Saraki.

Bukola Saraki, Senate President, CCTThe cross-examination of an operative of the anti-graft agency and prosecution witness, Mr Michael Wetkas, in the trial of the Nigerian Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, at the Code of Conduct Tribunal continued on Wednesday.

The CCT went ahead with the trial in spite of the nationwide strike declared by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

This is a continuation of his cross-examination on Tuesday when he explained the numbering of a property on MacDonald Street, maintaining his testimony that number 15 was one and the same property.

At the resumed session on Wednesday, a counsel to Dr. Saraki, Mr Paul Usoro, asked the witness to read page 9 of exhibit 3.

He was being drilled about his testimony regarding transfer of funds between foreign accounts held by the defendant.

He said that from the dollar account you would see a debit entry €1,200,000 on April 12, 2010 and that in the narration it was written ‘dollar exchange for Dr. Bukola Saraki’.

He added that on the pound sterling account which is exhibit 9, on that same day there was a credit in pounds sterling.

He said further that on February 15, 2010 there was a transaction with a debit of 1million dollars with the same narration like the first one seeking conversion of the funds to pound sterling and also on the same day there was a credit of $632,511.07 with a narration seeking conversion to pound sterling.

Wetkas then referred the tribunal to exhibit 8 where said funds were converted into pounds on behalf of the defendant.

When asked if there must be a telex for the transfer, the witness says yes. He also identified the telex which is part of his exhibit.

Having identified all the transfers, he was asked to read count 11 which is for making a false declaration which Dr. Saraki submitted at the end of his second tenure, where he allegedly failed to make declaration of loan he obtained from a commercial bank and remitted to Fortis Bank in full and final payment for undisclosed property he bought in London.

Mr Wetkas said that exhibit 7 has an offer letter of banking facility for the purchase of a property in London.

Mortgage Intervention
He insisted that the Senate President did not declare the property he bought in London and the loan he used to buy the property at the end of his tenure as the Governor of Kwara State in 2011.

According to Mr Wetkas, the London counterparts of the anti-graft agency are yet to furnish the commission with the details of the property.

He told the tribunal that Senator Saraki did not declare over 375 million dollars, which he converted to pound sterlings for the purchase of two houses in London that were also not declared.

When asked to read the telex for the transfers for the said transaction which he had earlier tendered as evidence, the witness pointed out that it was for mortgage intervention.

Asked if he knew the meaning of mortgage intervention, the witness admitted that he had little knowledge of mortgage business, but that the commission reached out to their counterparts in London, who gave them details of the title deeds of the property and the owner.

He, however,  said he was not in possession of the documents when asked if he had evidence to substantiate his claims.

On counts 10 and 15, Mr Wetkas told the tribunal that he did not give any testimony about them.

He was then directed to Count 5 which accused the Senate President of failing to declare his interest in number 37b Glover Road, Ikoyi and that he failed to declare the said property in his asset declaration form in 2011, and also failed to declare the annual income of 5.5 million Naira annual rent accrued from the property.

When asked how he came about that conclusion, the witness said that the Managing Director of Carlisle Properties and Investment owned by the defendant, one Mr Sule Izuabe, told him, under interrogation, that all the properties managed by the company was owned by the defendant and that during a search of the premises of Carlisle Investments and Properties Limited, the operatives of EFCC came across a document, which was labeled as ‘estimated annual income’.

This he said, made him reach the conclusion that the property was owned by the defendant.

When asked if he had the title deed of the property, Wetkas said the document contained the name of four different owners.

He said the property was linked to the Senate President because of the income that was linked to the property, but that other officers had further investigated the ownership of the property and would be testifying in that regard.

The witness also admitted under cross examination that he had no document to show that the sum of 5.5 million Naira as alleged in the charge accrued to the defendant.

The proceedings was adjourned to Wednesday, May 25 2016 for continuation of cross examination.