In course of the on going trial of Senate President Saraki, a prosecution witness, Mr. Michael Wetkas testified before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, that the former had bought a property worth millions in Lagos with bank loan, not proceeds of sale of rice and sugar as claimed by the accused.
Saraki who was the governor of Kwara State between 2003 – 2011 is being prosecuted by the Federal Government before the CCT on 16 counts, including false and anticipatory asset declaration, which he allegedly made during his 8-year governorship tenor.
During the court healing on Monday, November 7, Wetkas, who was being cross-examined for the 13th day by the defence told the Danladi Umar-led CCT that the Senator Saraki bought the properties at 17A and B, McDonald Street, Ikoyi, Lagos, in 2006 with proceeds of loans he obtained from the Guaranty Trust Bank.
The witness 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.
Contained in the declaration form of June 3, 2011 is a writen statement which says that at the end of his second term as governor, the senate president Saraki had submitted a form containing his asset declaration on June 3, 2011, in which he informed 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.
Wetkas confirmed that the senate president obtained three loans in the sums of N380m, N380m and N400m in connection with the properties.
“In 2006, the balance was N9,779,109. 79 million before the loan was credited. This first loan taken was used to pay the one before. The loan amount was N380m,” the witness said.
Mr. Wetkas recounted that the property the money was used to buy was worth N256.3m, with 5% charge translated into N12,815,000 that 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,” he continued.
“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. Then on the same date, there was loan disbursement of N400m.”
Meanwhile, the EFCC detective admitted that the property Senate President Saraki bought in Ikoyi – through the federal implementation committee – followed due process.