Saraki Bought Lagos Properties With Kwara Funds, EFCC Tells Court
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has told a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos that former Senate President, Bukola Saraki used Kwara State Government funds to pay off loans he obtained from Guarantee Trust Bank Plc, for the purchase of two properties in Lagos.
The allegation was made by an Investigating officer with the EFCC, Olamide Sadik who testified on Wednesday in a suit filed by the commission, seeking to seize and forfeit to the Government, two properties situated at 17 & 17A, McDonald Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, belonging to Saraki.
Sadik also told Justice Mohammed Liman, that that sometime in 2009 his boss, who was the Zonal Head for the EFCC, Ilorin Zone asked him to join an ongoing investigation of some properties linked to the former Senate President, who was also a former Governor of Kwara State.
The EFCC investigator claimed that he commenced the investigation by inviting an employee of GTB, Bayo Abdulrahaman Daudu to produce Saraki’s statement of account.
The witness testified that in the course of his interaction with Dauda, he recovered an offer letter for loans obtained by Saraki for the purchase of the two properties from the Presidential Committee for the sales of Government Properties.
Sadik said that there was evidence that the loans were disbursed by the bank on behalf of Saraki to the Presidential Committee for Sales of Government Properties through bank drafts.
He also claimed that he interrogated a Cashier with the Government House, Hafeez Yusuf, “who was persistently withdrawing money from the Kwara State government house account with Access Bank PLC.”
The EFCC operative added that from his investigation and interaction with Yusuf, he discovered that one Abdul Adama, a domestic servant to Saraki “usually and constantly withdraws cash from the government and pays same to Saraki’s account with GTBank and the same government funds was then used to repay the loan obtained from GTBank.
“EFCC investigation also revealed that Adama was collecting an average of N100 million monthly and depositing same into Saraki’s personal account which was eventually used to repay the loans obtained from GTB to purchase the properties in Lagos,” the witness said.
The witness also alleged that to beat the Anti- Money Laundering Act, the money was deliberately being structured and this led the bank to write the Financial Intelligent Unit (FIU) to complain about the way the money was being paid into the account.
“The summary of our investigation is that Dr Bukola Saraki obtained loans from GTB to buy the properties, but repaid the loans from money being collected by Abdul Adama, his domestic aide and other unidentified people,” he maintained.
Before Sadik’s testimony, the Chief Accountant at the Kwara State Government House, Hafis Yusuf had told the court that he gave monies to Abdul Adama on the instruction of his boss, Isiaka Kareem, a former Controller of Account and Finance.
But during cross-examination by Saraki’s counsel, Kehinde Ogunwomiju (SAN), the two witnesses told the court that they did not have any interface with the former Senate President.
Sadik specifically said that he did not investigate the Kwara State budget, neither did he know what the money was used for.
After the EFCC concluded its oral evidence as ordered by the court, counsel to Saraki, told the court that he relied on the evidence of the anti-graft agency as their defence in the suit.
Justice Liman has refused an application by the EFCC seeking to subpoena one of Saraki’s allies, Kennedy Izuagbe, to give evidence as to the affidavit he deposed to in response to the suit.
The judge has also adjourned till December 16, for the adoption of parties’ final written addresses in the suit.