Friday, 5 May 2017

False assets declaration: I’ve no case to answer – Saraki tells CCT

False assets declaration: I’ve no case to answer – Saraki tells CCT
The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, who is facing trial over allegation that he falsely declared his assets, on Thursday, told the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, sitting in Abuja that he has no case to answer.
Saraki, through his lawyer, Mr. Paul Erokoro, SAN, notified the Justice Danladi Umar-led tribunal of his intention to make a no-case-submission in respect of the 18-count corruption charge the Federal Government preferred against him.
He is contending that FG failed to establish a prima-facie case capable of warranting the tribunal to compel him to enter his defence to the charge.
The defendant is equally contending that none of the witnesses linked him to the commission of any offence, adding that the prosecution could not substantiate the ingredients of the charge.

Erokoro, SAN, secured permission of the CCT panel to file the no-case-application on a day FG closed its case against the defendant having produced a total of four witnesses that testified before the tribunal.
FG had in the charge with suit No. CCT/ABJ/01/15 alleged that Saraki made false/anticipatory declaration of assets before the Code of Conduct Bureau operated foreign accounts while in office as Kwara State governor between 2003 and 2011, as well as collected governorship salary four years after his tenure had elapsed.
Meanwhile, before the case was adjourned till June 8, the last prosecution witness, Mr. Bayo Dauda, who testified as the PW-4, narrated how Saraki took loan of 375million in 2010 to acquire a property in the United Kingdom.
The witness, who is a banker with the Guarantee Trust Bank, said he was Saraki’s relationship/account officer in 2003.
He told the tribunal that Saraki was newly elected into office as the Governor of Kwara state when the said account was opened in April 2003.
According to the witness, the defendant was offered loan by the bank on three occasions spanning between 2006 and 2010.
He said: “The first one was N380million which was offered on October 11, 2006. The next one was also N380m granted on January 30, 2007, while the third one was N375million which was granted to the defendant on February 10, 2010”.
Reading from exhibit-48 before the tribunal, Mr. Dauda said there was an agreement for the loans to be repaid through five equal quarterly installments of N76million in addition to the accrued interest.
“From the statement of account, the first quarter repayment on May 2, 2007 was N81, 309,589. As of July 29, 2007, the defendant had paid (principal and interest) a total sum of N81, 309,589. N76m represented the quarterly principal repayment while the remaining was the interest”.
Mr. Dauda told the tribunal that the loans were repaid through cash lodgments, cheque deposits and transfers.
“Major cash lodgments that were above the approved threshold which as a banker looked suspicious were reported by the bank to the appropriate authority”, the witness added.

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