More evidence trail Senate President’s trial

Chukwumerije Aja, Abuja

The prosecution of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki has continued, as the first witness, Mr. Michael Wetkas, revealed evidence of how Saraki allegedly bought a property in seven tranches.

The prosecution alleged in the 13 counts it preferred against Dr. Saraki that the property located at 17, McDonald Street, Ikoyi, Lagos, was part of those which the Senate President failed to declare to the Code of Conduct Bureau while he was governor of Kwara State.

The lead prosecuting counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), through the witness, tendered cheques allegedly drawn from Saraki’s personal account and the account of his firm, Carlie Properties and Investments Limited for payment for the property.

The various tranches totaled ‎N522, 060,000.

According to Wetkas, the property was bought in the name of Tiny Tee Limited from the Presidential Committee on the Sale of federal government properties between 2006 and 2007.

The witness had said he was part of the inter-agency committee that investigated Saraki.

Mr. Wetkas confirmed that, “The part payment was from GTB account of Carlie Properties and Investment Ltd.
There is a draft before me for N256, 300,000 which was part payment for the property.
There is another draft before me of N12, 815,000 which was part payment.
There is another draft of a total of N24, 090,000. That total is broken down into, N20 million from Zenith Bank and N4, 090,000 from GTB.
The total of the two are part payment of said property.
The N20 million from the Zenith Bank account of Carlie Properties and Investments Ltd while N4,090,000 was also from Carlie Properties and Investment Ltd with GTB.
There is another draft before me for N180, 675,000 dated April 3, 2007. It was also part payment for same property from the defendant’s personal account with GTB.
I have another draft of N36, 135,000 dated January 10, 2007. The draft was cleared in Carlie Properties and Investments Ltd’s account in GTB and that also forms part payment for the property.
There is another draft of N12, 045,000 dated January 10, 2007.”

All the drafts were tendered and admitted as exhibits as well as Saraki’s asset declaration form submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau-CCB in 2011.

Previous revelations
The witness also revealed how Saraki funded the property at 15 McDonald Street, Ikoyi, Lagos, which Saraki allegedly declared as 15 A and B, McDonald Street, Ikoyi, Lagos.

Wetkas had in his testimony alleged that the Senate President declared that he acquired the property in 2003 whereas he only purchased it from the Presidential Implementation Committee on Sale of Federal Government Property in 2006.

The witness said, “We wrote to the implementation committee and they responded that the property is at 15, McDonald Street, Ikoyi, Lagos and another one, Block 15, Flat 1 to 4, McDonald Ikoyi, Lagos. They said these were the addresses they had with respect to McDonald Ikoyi Lagos.
Seventy-five per cent payment for that property that I referred to which is N123, 750,000 was paid from the account of Sky View Properties with Access Bank. Sky View is one of the companies declared by the defendant as one of his companies.
The implementation committee could not produce the draft. They said it was Fidelity Bank draft and they had been trying to
receive a copy of the draft but they couldn’t.
Access Bank too could not get a copy of the draft but they referred us to where the account (Access Bank) where the draft was paid. That was the account of Sky View Ltd with Skye Bank. They also furnished us with the statement of account and account opening packages and means of identification for the account.”

All the documents relating to the account were also tendered and admitted as exhibits. Trial continues today, Tuesday.