Senate President, Bukola Saraki’s trial started yesterday at the code of conduct tribunal despite his attempt to stall the proceedings. Saraki is facing a 13-count charge bordering. He was arraigned before the Code of Conduct Tribunal late last year.
Leading the prosecution, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) called in his first witness giving details of how Saraki allegedly diverted Kwara State’s funds for personal use. The EFCC operative witness, Michael Wetkas, said he was part of the team that investigated the various petitions against Saraki, said among others, that Saraki was helped by officials of the Guaranty Trust Bank.
Wetkas said: “Shortly after the expiration of the defendant’s second term in 2011, the EFCC received several petitions from various groups. One of them is Kwara Freedom Network. While investigating the petitions, the EFCC received an intelligence report in 2014 about some suspicious transactions relating to the defendant. On the receipt of the report, the Chairman (of EFCC) set up a team of three investigators, led by myself and two others – Chris Odofin and Nura Bako.
“Our finding on the intelligence report revealed that there were several companies, linked to the defendant. We also discovered major cash inflow into accounts operated by these companies. We discovered that the major source of inflow into the account was from Cailise Properties and Investment Limited, which was over $2m. Another source of inflow into the account was from bureau de change companies, as well as cash lodgments by individuals.
“The reason for the invitation of the bank officials is because some of the individuals making cash lodgments into the account were staff of the bank. That was why we invited them. One Oluwa Sojimu reported to the EFCC. From our interaction with him, we discovered that the money he lodged into the account was given to him by his superior in the bank, and that superior is Mr. Bayo Abdulraheem Dauda. Dauda is the Relationship Manager of the account referred to.
“Upon our interaction with Mr. Dauda, it was discovered that the cash sums were handed to him for lodgment by the defendant, according to him, used to be called to the Kwara State Government House at Ilorin to collect those cash sums. From the lodgments, we discovered that one Ubi made five separate lodgments of N77m in one day. We also discovered another name, Abdul Adama, who on a single day made lodgments 50 times on the same account. The sum was broken down between N600, 000 to N900, 000. Shortly after lodgments by Adama, the same Ubi made lodgments on the same day 20 times in the same range of N600, 000 to N900, 000. We looked for Adama and invited him. He also reported and stated that the cash sums were handed over to him by the defendant and stated further that the sum that was lodged into the same account by Ubi was from him.
Both Adama and Ubi were personal assistants to the defendant while he was governor. Adama was personal assistant to the defendant on domestic matters.