Saraki used different bank drafts to buy properties in Lagos – EFCC witness

Bukola Saraki docked

A witness of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Michael Wetkas, on Monday told the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) that the President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, used different bank drafts to buy properties in Ikoyi, Lagos State.

Saraki is facing a 13-count charge bordering on allegations of false asset declaration and money laundering.

He had earlier pleaded not guilty to the charges.

At the resumed hearing of the case, the EFCC witness, who was led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), said Saraki bought the properties through his companies.

He said investigation revealed that House No. 15, Macdonald Street, Ikoyi, Lagos and Block 15, Flat 1 to 4 of the same street belong to Saraki.

According to Wetkas, Saraki bought the properties from the Presidential Committee on Sale of Federal Government Landed Properties in Lagos through his companies.

He added the defendant made a bank draft in the name of TYNITY Company Limited, which he declared in the Asset declaration form.

He noted that when the EFCC investigation team wrote to the presidential committee seeking clarification, the committee said from their records, the only property sold to the company was No. 15, Macdonald Street, Ikoyi.

Wetkas said 75 per cent, which amounted to N123.7 million, was paid for House No. 15, Macdonald Street, Ikoyi, through a bank draft from the account of one of Saraki’s companies, Skyview Properties Limited, in Access Bank.

He also said investigation revealed that the defendant made a bank draft through his company, TYNITY, and paid for House No. 17, Macdonald Street in Ikoyi, Lagos in the sum of N256.3 million.

He said: “My lord, there was a draft of N12.8 million and another draft of N20 million from Zenith Bank, as well as a draft of N4 million from GTBank as part of payment for the purchase of House No. 17, Macdonald Street.

“The N20 million draft came from Carlys properties and Investment Limited and a draft of N136.1 million was made on January 13, 2007 for the purchase of same property.

“Another draft of N180.6 million was made through Saraki`s personal bank account in GTB.”

The prosecution tendered a total of 43 exhibits, which were admitted in evidence.

The Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Danladi Umar, then turned down a request by Saraki’s lawyer, Kanu Agabi (SAN), asking for daily records of proceedings of the court.

In his argument, Umar said the request would not be possible because it would over burden the registry of the court and that the law required defence to apply within a specific time and not daily.

However, a mild drama ensued when Agabi urged the tribunal not to further fix trial dates at a time when the Senate was having plenary.

The tribunal, however, overruled his submission, saying it was Saraki that was facing trial and not the Senate.