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Saraki trial: Witness sweats under cross-exam

Prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of the Senate President, Senator Bukola before the Code of Conduct Tribunal sitting in Abuja on Tuesday admitted that four of the petitions which formed part of the charge upon which Saraki is being tried did not alleged misconduct against him. The witness, Micheal Wetkas who is an investigator with the EFCC while being cross examined by the defense counsel, Kanu Agabi (SAN) specifically admitted that he did not investigate the petitions in Exhibits 11, 12, 13 and 10.

luding the one written by Kwara Freedom Network which were tendered through him before the tribunal were not investigated by him nor his team. There were investigated by another team. The defense had presented the exhibits to him and consequently questioned him on them. But Wetkas said that the petitions in the four exhibits were not investigated by him.

Exhibit 11 which was dated May 22, 2012 contained a petition written by Kwara Freedom Network inviting the EFCC to investigate the Kwara State Universal Basic Education Board. The witness had while giving evidence in chief told the tribunal that the petition by the Kwara Freedom Network propelled their investigation. He however turned around during cross examination to say that his team did not did not investigate the petition.

Exhibit 12 which was dated May 7, 2011 was addressed to the Chairman of the EFCC asking the antigraft agency to investigate the Kwara state government on borrowings for projects described as phoney. Exhibit 13 however was a petition dated June 7, 2012 which was about mismanagement of local government revenue in Kwara state between 2003 and 2011. When asked whether in the course of investigation, he had audience with the Accountant General of Kwara state, the witness said he did not as that was not part of his assignment. Also asked whether he invited any official of Kwara state government in the course of investigation, the witness also said he did not. Asked whether he got another written document to buttress the petition written by Kwara Freedom Network, the witness said he did not.

When further asked why he tendered documents he did not investigated, the witness said he did not tender the exhibits on his own but were tendered through him by the Prosecution. Also under cross examination, the witness admitted that investigating the assets declaration of the defendant did not form part of his schedule of duty. He also admitted that exhibits 3, 4 and 5 which were assets declaration forms of the defendant were duly examined and stamped by the Code of Conduct Bureau.

He added that there was nowhere in the petition they investigated where Saraki’s asset declaration was in contention. He further added that the investigation of the defendant was based on intelligence report obtained by the former chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Lamorde and not the four petitions tendered as exhibits. In specific terms, the witness stated that the six assets declaration forms submitted by Saraki to the CCB were never investigated by his team.

He, however, stated that his team was directed to investigate the intelligence report alone. Meanwhile, all effort made by the defendant counsel to secure a week adjournment failed as the Tribunal Chairman Danladi Umar ruled that the tribunal would not reverse its Monday decision to sit on daily bases. Danladi said in a brief ruling that the tribunal’s decision to sit daily was based on the provision of Administration of Criminal Justice Acting (ACJA). He dismissed Kanu Agabi’s argument that the defence team needed adequate time to prepare. Further hearing continues today.

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