Wednesday, 6 April 2016
Senate President Bukola Saraki “laundered over 2 million U.S. dollars”, EFCC witness tells CCT
A prosecution witness, Michael Wetcast, on Tuesday told the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) sitting in Abuja, that Senate President Bukola Saraki used three different accounts in GTB to launder over two million U.S. dollars
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) witness was led in evidence by EFCC Counsel Rotimi Jacobs (SAN).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that Saraki was dragged to the CCT on a 13-count-charge bordering on false assets declaration and money laundering.
The witness said that the accounts were opened with Naira, pounds sterling and dollar currencies.
Wetcast said that the commission received petitions from different groups including the Kwara Freedom Network (KFN) which wrote and complained about abuse of office.
He further testified that the petition also centred on misappropriation and money laundering against the defendant, between 2003 and 2011, when he was governor of Kwara.
The EFCC witness said that during investigation, they discovered several companies including TARLISE Properties and Investment Limited, TAIVIEW Properties Limited, LIMKERS Nigeria Limited and TYNITY Limited linked to Saraki.
“My Lord, some of these companies have bank accounts in GTB, Zenith Bank, Intercontinental Bank (now Access Bank).
“In the course of investigation, we analysed the accounts and discovered that the naira account at the GTB has 4 billion Naira between 2005 and 2013.
“Another 2.5 billion Naira was lodged into the account by individuals of whom one of the depositors was the relation of an officer of the bank.
“We also discovered that part of the money was used to purchase properties through TARLISE Properties and Investment Limited, a company allegedly owned by Saraki,” he said.
The witness further said that investigation revealed that two million US dollars was lodged into the dollar account through a bureau de change.
He said that the total turnover of the dollar account between 2009 and 2013, was 3.4 million U.S. dollars, which was “wired into America Express Services Europe Limited.”
The witness said the money was used to fund Saraki’s American Express Service Card with registration number 3745 8821 6836 009.
Wetcast said part of the money (1.5 million pounds) was paid into the pounds sterling account of the defendant and wired into the Fortes Bank in U.K for the purpose of purchasing properties in London.
He said the defendant bought properties at No. 17/17A in Macdonald St. Ikoyi, Lagos in the sum of 497.2 million Naira through his company TYNITY Properties Limited and failed to declared same.
He said the defendant maintained American Express Services bank account when he was governor of Kwara.
“We also discovered that from 2003 to 2007, the defendant obtained N375 million loan from GTB for the purpose of purchasing property in London,” he said.
However, counsel to Saraki, Paul Usoro (SAN), refused to examine the asset declaration forms presented to him by the tribunal.
Usoro said he reserved his comment on the document till the next date because he was new in the case.
The chairman of the tribunal, Justice Umar Danladi, adjourned the case till April 6 for continuation of trial.