The embattled Senate President Bukola Saraki trial continued at noon on Monday, April 18th with the prosecution introducing tendered bank checks and other banking documents as evidence of payments for a property bought from the Presidential Implementation Committee on Landed Property. Mr. Saraki is facing charges of corruption and false asset declaration at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

President of the Senate Bukola Saraki

The lead prosecuting attorney, Rotimi Jacobs, questioned the lead witness for the evidence Michael Wetkas, an official with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Mr. Wetkas told the court how Mr. Saraki purchased a property located at 15A Macdonald in Ikoyi, Lagos State using a company named Tiny Tee Ltd as a front for his transaction.

Mr. Wetkas told the court that Mr. Saraki did not declare plots 15A or 15B as his property and that when the EFCC verified the records from the Presidential Implementation Committee, they found that the properties had been sold to Tiny Tee his company.

The letter to the Implementation Committee on Sale of Federal Government Properties from the EFCC and their response was tendered as evidence in court and admitted.

Mr. Wetkas noted that Tiny Tee paid 75% of the property, which is N123,750,000 from the account of Skyview Properties in Intercontinental Bank now named Access Bank.

However, when the EFCC attempted to locate a draft for the payment from the Presidential Implementation Committee and Access Bank, they could not find any records. Bank officials at Access Bank referred EFCC agents to the Skyview Properties Ltd account, also at Access Bank, where the draft for this property was cleared.

Access Bank, according to Mr. Wetkas, provided the EFCC with records of the banking activity for that account. Associated account and banking information, including the drafts for payment, these records were presented to the court as evidence and accepted.

Mr. Wetkas also revealed in his testimony that the property purchased by Mr. Saraki’s company Tiny Tee was financed from accounts at Access Bank and Guaranty Trust Bank.

It was also learned that multiple payments from bank accounts were paid for the same property, No 17 Macdonald Street in Ikoyi Lagos.

The EFCC investigation into the GTB bank accounts associated with these property purchases found that some were drawn from an account named Carlisle Property and Investment Ltd, which is also known as a front for Mr. Saraki’s business activities.

The EFCC investigation found that a draft of N256,300,000 was drawn as payment for property at No 17 MacDonald from the Carlisle Property account. Another draft amounting to N12,000,800,000 also payment for that No 17 Macdonald. There was also an N24 million payment from a Zenith Bank account of Carlisle Property and Investment, and N4.90m was from Carlisle Property account in GTB.

Another draft was N180m, which was dated  April 5th, 2007 part payment for 17 Macdonald. Another draft of N36,000,135,000 dated  January 10th 2007 drawn from account Carlisle Property account in GTB, which also forms part payment for No 17 McDonald and lastly, another draft for N12 million dated 10th January 2007 also drawn from the account of Carlisle Property in GTB, which also forms part payment for No 17 McDonald, Ikoyi.

Wetkas identified the statement of accounts of Carlisle Property in GTB and Zenith Bank and Assets Declaration Form of Saraki as evidence, and the Court has accepted it as part of the 40 exhibits registered so far by the court.

The defense counsel told the court that he would reserve his objection to the documents tendered until the appropriate time.                                                               

The court then adjourned for 15 minutes to allow Muslim faithful to observe their prayers.

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