The trial of Senate President Bukola Saraki continued on Thursday, March 23, 2017 at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, with the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, admitting that Saraki did declare his assets and those of his family members.
The third prosecution witness and a staff of CCB, Mr. Samuel Madojemu, also admitted before the tribunal during cross-examination that Saraki equally declared the assets of his wife, Toyin Saraki, both in Nigeria and abroad, as well as those of his children whose names were not read out.
At the resumed trial of the defendant on alleged false declaration of assets, the witness admitted that Saraki’s assets were recorded in the Assets Forms he submitted to CCB at various times.
Led in the cross-examination by Saraki’s counsel, Paul Erekoro (SAN), Madojemu was meant to read out the list of assets declared by Saraki in his name, those of his wife and his children, when he held office as Kwara State governor and upon his assumption of office as a senator.
The witness told the tribunal that the investigation, which led to the arraignment of Saraki in 2015, was actually carried out by the operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
He noted that his role and those of CCB were limited to the review of EFCC report and compared same with the defendant’s Assets Declaration Form.
He added that he was invited orally into a team that reviewed the EFCC report and compared the asset form of Saraki, and that CCB has no written report on the outcome of the revision of the EFCC report.
Answering further questions, he maintained that former Lagos State Governor, Senator Bola Tinubu who was equally investigated on assets declaration enjoyed the privileged of being invited by CCB to clarify l discrepancies in his asset forms submitted to the Bureau.
When asked why same gesture was not extended to Saraki when his asset forms were been investigated, he stated that CCB cannot be blamed for not inviting Saraki because it saw the need to limit its investigation to the asset forms endorsed by Saraki on oath.
On the alleged double salary received by Saraki after he had left office as Kwara State governor and when he was in the Senate, the witness pointed out that CCB did not consult with the Kwara State government to confirm the claim but only based its acceptance of the claim on the report of the EFCC and a bank account of Saraki with the Access Bank.
He said that he would not know whether it was pension that was being paid to Saraki by Kwara State government, as he had no access to the Kwara State law on pension scheme for ex-political office holders.
But when asked to point out in the Access Bank statement of account where double salaries were allegedly paid to Saraki, the witness replied: “I just cited a statement of account of the defendant. I did not study it. So, I will not be in position so say more on the salary issue.”
Madojemu also told the tribunal that there was no provision in the CCB Asset Declaration Form for any declarant to declare properties owned by the declarant’s companies and that there was no provision for cash lodgment in the asset forms.
On his earlier evidence that Saraki did not declare his property in London in respect of any mortgage, the witness said: “I did not consult with Fortis Bank of London to know whether the six-bedroom bungalow at South West London was redeemed with the bank loan.
He however admitted that the six-bedroom bungalow was declared by the defendant in 2011 and that Saraki also claimed in his asset form that he acquired a property from proceeds from sales of rice, sugar commodities and bank loan.
At the end of the cross- examination, the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs applied for an adjournment to enable him re-examine the witness.
The counsel told the tribunal that he needed the adjournment because the witness was cross-examined for four days by the defence.
The tribunal has however adjourned trial till April 5for re-examination of the witness by the prosecution.
This article originally appeared in The Guardian.