Punch Newspaper – Prosecution witness, Mr. Michael Wetkas, in the ongoing trial of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, said on Monday that the claim by Saraki that he bought a property in Lagos with proceeds of sale of rice and sugar was false.
Wetkas, who was being cross-examined for the 13th day by the defence, told the Danladi Umar-led CCT that the Senate President actually bought the properties at 17A and B, McDonald Street, Ikoyi, Lagos, in 2006 with proceeds of loans he obtained from the Guaranty Trust Bank.
Saraki is being prosecuted by the Federal Government before the CCT on 16 counts, including false and anticipatory asset declaration, which he allegedly made as governor of Kwara State between 2003 and 2011.
At the resumed hearing of the case on Monday, Wetkas was asked by the defence lawyer, Mr. Paul Usoro (SAN), to read from the various asset declaration forms completed by the Senate President and earlier admitted by the CCT as exhibits.
In his asset declaration form of June 3, 2011 which he submitted at the end of his second term as governor, Saraki, declared that he acquired the property in 2006, and five others in 1990, 1991, 1992, 1996 and 2000 with proceeds of sales of rice and sugar.
Meanwhile, he earlier declared in his asset declaration form dated July 11, 2007 for his end of first term as governor, and at the beginning of his second term as governor, that he acquired the properties through loan worth N497m.
The witness explained that the loan initially obtained was structured to be paid quarterly in five tranches but that as the then Kwara State governor, he was obtaining additional loans from the bank which led to the subsequent restructuring of the loan.
Wetkas, as directed by the defence lawyer, also read from the GT Bank statement of the Senate President covering the period 2005 to 2015.
The bank statement was earlier admitted by the CCT as Exhibit 7.
Wetkas confirmed that Saraki obtained three loans in the sums of N380m, N380m and N400m in connection with the properties acquired by Saraki.
He said, “In 2006, the balance was N9,779,109. 79m before the loan was credited. This first loan taken was used to pay the one before. The loan amount was N380m.
“The property it was used to buy was worth N256.3m. There was five per cent charge translated into N12,815,000. It was liquidated on February 5, 2007.
“When the loan was liquidated, it took the balance to a debit balance of N231,552,804.93. Then another loan was taken of N380m on the same February 5, 2007. The second loan was taken to defray the debit. It now gave a credit balance of N98m.
“As of the 2007 declaration, there was debit outstanding of the loan of up to N300m, which was not declared in 2007 declaration. There were other inflows into account the purposes of paying.
“On August 27, 2009, the balance on the account shows an inflow into the account of N100m through banker’s cheque. On July 31, 2009, it shows that the account was in debit of about N93,933,654.15.
“After the inflow of N100m on August 27, it went into credit balance of N6,066,345.6. On April 30, 2009, the account was in debit position of N17m. The on the same date, there was loan disbursement of N400m.”