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My asset declaration tempered with – Saraki

Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, has alleged that his assets declaration form submitted in 2003 when he was the governor of Kwara State has been tampered with. He told the tribunal through his counsel, Paul Erokoro (SAN), that the refusal of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) to interface with him on the asset declaration was because they knew he would challenge insertions made on the form which had become the basis of the charges they brought against him.

Counsel to Saraki, Paul Erokoro (SAN) made the allegation on Tuesday at the resumed trial of the Senate President on 13-count charge of falsification of assets declaration. However, the EFCC witness, Mr. Michael Wetkas, who was being cross-examined by Saraki’s Counsel denied the allegation, saying the form was filled and signed by Saraki before a competent Judge.

When the witness was asked if he was aware that the assets Declaration form submitted by the Defendant in 2003 was tampered with since it contained some entries of properties that were not put on sale by the Federal Government until 2006, Mr. Wetkas said: “As far as I concerned, exhibit one was signed by the defendant himself on September 16, 2003.” And when asked if he inserted No. 15A and15 B, MacDonald Street, Ikoyi, he said ‘no’. And when asked if he knew who did it, the witness said: “The Code of Conduct Bureau is a responsible organisation” and he would not believe it would have done that. When he was asked why he did not confront the Senate President with it, his answer was that he did not have any interaction with him but the document was one he could believe because it was signed before a competent Judge.

Erokoro’s contention was that Exhibit One would not have been written in September 16, 2003 because of the content particularly as it included properties he allegedly bought five years later. He argued that the form has been tampered with. He said the EFCC could not submit documents because he was afraid such would be challenged. But the witness said that he did not interface with Saraki because another team comprising Imam Usman and Musa Sunday met the defendant. He also said he was not there when they met the defendant.

Defendant counsel told the tribunal that it was impossible for Saraki to have declared Houses 15 A and 15B MacDonald road, Ikoyi- Lagos in his asset declaration in 2003 when actually the property were sold in 2006 after competitive bidding in which the preferred bidder and the second preferred bidders rejected the offer. He explained that the defendant bought the houses from the Presidential Implementation Committee on Sales of Government Houses in 2006 and paid by Tiny T in 2008 after the first and second winners of the bid were unable to pay for it. The defendant counsel also sought to prove that Saraki was worth more than N1.5 billion before he became governor of Kwara State.

Through the prosecution witness, the tribunal was told that Saraki owned 15 exotic vehicles including Mercedes S320 valued at N16m, Mercedes S500 valued at N20m, Lincoln bullet proof worth N25m, Mercedes G bullet proof worth N30m, Mercedes G 500 valued at N45m among others. The total sum of his vehicles was put at N263, 400,000m and his landed property at N2b while he had cash deposit of 22m dollars, 12m pound sterling and 2.6m euro according to his asset declaration as read by Wetkas on Tuesday at the tribunal. Trial continues today.

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