Why Saraki must attend corruption trial everyday – Tribunal

Senate President Bukola Saraki CCB Trail
Senate President Bukola Saraki CCB Trail

The Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Danladi Umar, on Monday explained why Nigeria’s embattled President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, must abandon Senate sittings and attend his trial everyday.

Overruling Mr. Saraki’s lead counsel’s application for the trial not to hold when the Senate is having plenary, Mr. Umar said the president of the Senate was the one facing trial not the Senate.

He then ruled that the trial would hold from 10am till noon on daily basis.

The tribunal chairman also turned down Mr. Agabi’s request for the daily proceedings of the court, saying such request would overburden the tribunal’s registry.

The trial continued Monday with the examination of the first prosecution witness, Michael Wetkas, after which the cross examination began.

Earlier, Mr. Wetkas told the tribunal that Mr. Saraki’s wife, Toyin, and her parents Mr. and Mrs. Ojora, were the major promoters of a company, Tiny T Limited, involved in the alleged false asset declaration by Mr. Saraki.

“Chief Mrs. Ojualape Ojora, Toyin’s mother, Mrs. Toyin Saraki, Chief Ojora, Toyin’s father and Bukola Saraki, were the chief promoters of Tiny T,” Mr. Wetkas said.

Mr. Wetkas had earlier told the tribunal that Tiny T Limited, was the company, whose name was used by Mr. Saraki to purchase an undeclared property.

The witness also told the tribunal that Mr. Saraki had bought three houses from the Presidential Implementation Committee on Sale of Government Properties.

He added that it was a matter of policy for the committee to only sell one property in a given state to one buyer.

Mr. Wetkas further said Mr. Saraki made anticipatory declaration of assets, adding that the property bought from the committee was declared as No. 15 A and B on McDonald Street, Ikoyi on his Assets Declaration Form.

However, Mr. Wetkas said, when his investigative team wrote the committee for verification, it discovered that the property belonging to Mr. Saraki was only identified as only No. 15 – not No. 15 A and B as claimed.

The witness explained further that the building was having four flats inside it, and that 75 per cent of the payment for the said building, amounting to about N123million was made from an account belonging to a certain company, identified as SkyView Properties, which was declared by Mr. Saraki as his company.

He added that the property was bought in the name of another company, Tiny T Limited.

Mr. Wetkas also said Mr. Saraki did not declare another property, located on No. 17 MacDonald Street, Lagos which he purchased at the cost of over N500 million, but paid separately from his companies, Carlisle and Skyview Properties.

Also according to Mr. Wetkas, Mr. Saraki failed to declare in his Assets Declaration Forms of 2003, 2007 and 2011 respectively, two assets located on No. 2481 and 2482 Cadastral Zone A06, which he purchased in 1993.

Mr. Wetkas further stated that his investigation team conducted an investigation into a company owned by Mr. Saraki and found a list of properties that yielded over N145 million annually for Mr. Saraki.

Shortly after the documents containing the various evidences were admitted as exhibits, Mr. Wetkas was cross-examined by the lead defence counsel, Kanu Agabi.

During the cross examination, Mr. Wetkas told the tribunal that there was no mention of Kwara Freedom Network’s petition, which had earlier been portrayed as the origin of Mr. Saraki’s investigation, nor was there a mention of any petition whatsoever in his statement.

He however stated that he had mentioned an intelligence report during his examination at the tribunal.

Mr. Wetkas told the tribunal that his team did not conduct a forensic investigation into a report by the Kwara Freedom Network, stressing that the said investigation was conducted by another team.

He also stated that he personally did not conduct a forensic investigation into the accounts of Kwara State related to the loss of funds by government, nor did he conduct any investigation into the pensions scheme of Kwara State.

Mr. Wetkas also told to the tribunal that his statement came on October 30, 2015 – more than a month after the charge was filed on September 14 last year.

Subsequently, the defence counsel said the statement of Mr. Wetkas could not have formed part of the proof of evidence and requested time to study the document before the cross-examination.

After a heated debate on the supposed date for the next sitting, the case was adjourned to April 19 for continuation of cross examination.


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  • Darlington

    Saraki may resign as Senate President, but APC may not be same again.

    • Dany Temi

      Why, No body is indispensable, a tree can not make a forest. So, don’t think that if Saraki leaves today APC will collapse. How many state did Saraki delivered to APC during the last Presidential election or are you telling me that Saraki is stronger than Tinubu now ?

    • nelson

      APC did not win the last general election because of Saraki. The election was won because Nigerians have had enough of PDP that is filled with people with integrity deficit like Saraki. Buhari was the game changer, because of his high integrity value. So bros, we Nigerians who voted for PMB and APC, do not know Saraki and to us, he has no national electoral value, it is only those that did not vote for PMB in the last election that are over valuing Saraki.

      • share Idea

        It is good to know that APC never believed in teamwork but individual strength. When Saraki was plotting against PDP, he was darling of APC, now, Saraki does not have any national appeal.

        Considering what Saraki did to PDP, I should be happy for the treatment he is receiving. However, in a democratic setting, you do not wish your opponent to be persecuted, rather justice be applied without fear or favour.

        • nelson

          Team work my foot. Who cares about team work in the face of looting and plundering of our common patrimony. Saraki did not need to do anything against the thiefing Jonathan and PDP govt before we Nigerians knew that we have had enough of their reckless greed and we voted them out. Saraki should have remained in PDP to test his national electoral strength. Who knows Saraki? Continue to glorify him beyond his value. The earlier you wake up to the fact that a new Nigeria is being born, with politicians who whole heartedly care for Nigeria’s unity, progress and the well being of all of us that will win elections and not insensitive politicians who care only for their narrow and selfish primitive acquisition of wealth, cars (like the present disgraceful bunch of APC Senators, who will see their score cards come 2019), buildings and piling up of money in banks all over the world like Saraki and his likes, the better. This is what a maturing democracy gives to its citizens and not the celebration and support of integrity deficit politicians like Saraki, as some of you guys are doing.

  • The Truth

    So this witness has been lying. If it wasn’t him that conducted the investigation, who did? shouldn’t that person be the one on the witness stand? And the prosecution brought a charge on saraki without any statement, then remembered one month later to add it? very interesting ,the truth is coming out small small.

    • olat

      No place in d World where an agency witness personally conducted all d investigations. There are various units that are usually involved where d head of d investigation represent d unit as a witness. Dat is what d witness ve done.

      • Peter_Edo

        some people brain get only eba and amala…

    • Goodman

      Saraki is going to be Nigeria President after Buhari. I am sorry to predict these facts. He is young, he knows how to play, he has got money and influence.

      • nelson

        Nigerians have moved passed your line of thought bros. If politicians will allow our vote to count come 2019, politicians with integrity deficit will never win election again in Nigeria. If being young, knowing how to play ball, having money and influence as stated by you matter, then a sitting president Jonathan and PDP would not by any means lost the last election, because they deployed all that. But Nigerians told them through our votes, that we are no longer fools. So Bros, braze up for election that is based on promises made and fulfilled by politicians as precondition for their being voted for, come 2019

        • share Idea

          Are you suggesting that the person you voted in to replace GEJ is anywhere comparable to GEJ in terms administrating the country? Nigeria we hail thee

          • nelson

            Wake up to reality bros and stop drinking yourself to stupor over the electoral loss of your greedy, thiefing Jonathan to PMB. I bet you that if we are asked to vote afresh today, we will still massively vote Jonathan and PDP out of govt. If Jonathan and PDP had won the last election, the prediction from some quarters of the US would have come to pass, as Nigeria would have gone down and out through day light plundering of the country’s wealth. With PMB and his high integrity, our wealth will be used to better the lot of the citizens and surely with PMB, better days are ahead. However, you are free to continue to exercise your democratic right of drinking yourself to stupor and wallowing in the wailing pain of the defeat of your Jonathan and PDP for the next three years.

  • skin

    I believe the story will change once cross-examination begins…it has always been like that….Saraki shouldn’t resign but APC will never be the same again….watch out for what plays out by 2018

    • hummmm

      El rufai has said he is going to tesify that saragreed bought some houses from FCT when he was FCT minister. More ppl are going to testify such as bank offiicers etc.This is only the first witness.

      • AFRICANER

        El Rufai will definitely qualify as a hostile witness, especially one with Napoleonic ambitions.

    • Prophet

      Saraki has no defense. That is why all his lawyers are doing are delay tactics.He is praying to drag the case till Buhari leaves office hoping a corrupt person will take over and quash the case.

    • Samira

      All I see in all this so called evidence is a desperate attempt to scandalise Saraki by revealing the length and breadth of his assets, but no evidence of corruption. The man owned property companies, which he declared. Property companies buy, sell, lease, rent, in the normal course of transacting business. This prosecution witness said that the wife’s parents were the promoters of the wife’s company. Is the man supposed to declare his in-laws as his assets? Is there a law in Nigeria that forbids a married woman from owning property or any law that presume everything a woman owns to belong to her husband? Efcc makes inconsistent statements, can an owner of land not divide the land in two? Who pays for land in cash? Do land auctions not specify bank drafts?

      • Peter_Edo

        guess you are too dull to know that you CANNOT OWN PROPERTIES AND OR OPERATE BUSINESSES WHILE IN OFFICE. and i guess you do not know what anticipatory declaration is. i nor blame you… too much bad govt policies affecting education and all…

        • share Idea

          Who told you that you can never open company or properties while in Office?

          Why do they declare their assets before and after being in office.

          Are you suggesting that Buhari have sold all his cows because he is now the president? Nigeria we hail thee

          • Peter_Edo

            The Code of Conduct for Public Officers listed in the Fifth Schedule of
            the 1999 Constitution as amended, Part 1, paragraphs 1 to 14 are as
            follows:

            1. Conflict of Interest – A public officer shall not
            put himself in a position where his personal interest conflicts with
            his duties and responsibilities.

            2. Restriction on Specified Officers – A public officer shall not:
            (a)
            receive or be paid the emoluments of any public office at the same time
            as he receives or is paid emoluments of any other public office; or
            (b)
            except where he is not employed on full time basis, engage or
            participate in the management or running of any private business,
            profession or trade;
            but nothing in this sub-paragraph shall prevent a
            public officer from engaging in farming.

            its the other part of section B that Saraki is tenaciously trying to cling to saying that he was a farmer… so back to your argument. YOU FAIL!!!

          • share Idea

            Please can you explain what you understand by your quote “…except where he is not employed on full time basis, engage or participate in the management…”

            Does being a shareholder of a company makes that person day to day manager of such company.

            Please can you cite any politician in Nigeria that will pass your literal meaning of your earlier quote. Nigeria we hail thee

          • Peter_Edo

            AND OH YEA, PMB IS A FARMER HENCE HE IS EXCUSED.. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

          • share Idea

            What of Osibanjo that have shares in MTN and also foreign accounts. Nigeria we hail thee

      • share Idea

        Just digressing, did you notice that PT never reported Tinubu’s shell companies mentioned in Panama papers- no, because Tinubu is a member of Integrity group of ex-leaders. Nigeria we hail thee

        • Peter_Edo

          The Tinubu they are mentioning is WALE TINUBU of OANDO!!!

    • nelson

      Bros, nothing will happen in 2018. All politicians with integrity deficit like Saraki and his likes, will have no stake in Nigeria’s political space, come 2019. It is only few gullible Nigerians that will still hold politicians like Saraki in high esteem and campaign for them, come 2019. Saraki and his likes has been around since 1999 and the testimony we have about them is their greedy self enrichment, looting and plundering of the county’s wealth, while the masses” lot been that of degrading poverty and hopelessness.

  • MilitaryPolice01

    Kai they have trapped this man from every angle

    • AFRICANER

      Absolutely right. In my view, an objection should have been raised by Saraki’s lawyers throughout Mr. Wetas entire direct testimony because, much of his account were:

      1. Beyond the scope of the allegations charged;

      2. Ambiguous, confusing, misleading, and vague;

      3. irrelevant or immaterial: the questions from Jacobs, the prosecutor were not about the issues in the trial.

      4. Prosecutor Jacobs kept pointing and assuming facts not in evidence.

      Therefore, I still think Saraki’s lawyers should file a motion in limine forthwith, or the Judge himself, if he is fair, via his own discretion should throw the whole thing out. The man is charged with false asset declarations, not theft.

      • Prophet

        The charge is related to the theft….they are inseparable,

        False asset declaration resulted from the defendants failure to declare assets that he purchased with stolen state funds which he tried to hide by using different companies

        • AFRICANER

          The stolen funds insertion by you lacks foundation, and that’s my point. They should first charge Saraki to a real criminal court, get a conviction, thereby establishing a foundation first.

          • isioku

            False assets declaration is almost a strict liability offence. An asset or liability acquired or had but not disclosed in the CCB form before it is filed with the tribunal will most certainly nail a defendant. Saraki is on trial for false declaration of assets however he sourced the money to purchase those assets. He is not on trial for the source of money which will properly be taken up by another agency at the appropriate time. A mere mention of how he sourced the money does not clothe the charge with a different character. You must always look to the charges in the charge sheet. In any case, there was no mention of source of money or theft in the report we read.

          • AFRICANER

            I was strictly relating to the testimony of Mr. Wetas. The witness is incompetent to testify to much of what he was brought to testify about, most of it without proper foundation, and the rest of it, beyond the scope of the allegations in the information sheet.

          • One in Ten thousand

            If you are taken to court for stealing a shoe, First they have to prove that the shoe was stolen by you, then prove the real owner of the shoe and then prove the reenactment of events while the shoe was being stolen and after before a verdict can be given by the court. In my eyes (not the court of law) he’s as guilty as they come. Is he being persecuted? That’s sophomoric. It’s all a game and he knew it from the minute he maneuvered his way into being the Senate president, only in this game he lacked the most important ingredient that all masters possess. Patience!

          • AFRICANER

            Interesting opinion. But not a legal perspective.

      • Ogbeni Leke Olowe

        Why not apply for a space in his legal teams after all you are more brilliant than KANU agabi and his fellow SAN .Yeye dey smell YEYENATU.

  • Cleartruth

    I haven’t seen where court proceedings are conducted daily. This judge is not hiding his bias at all.

    • Peter_Edo

      go and read about the ACJA 2015. and also the directive given by the CJN. after that, come here and apologize !!!

    • Dany Temi

      What about Senate who is trying to amend the CCT/CCB act within 48 hours leaving other important bills unattended to ?

    • share Idea

      Though the new Administration criminal Justice acts allows such, there is obvious difficulty in its implementation as vividly stated by the judge with regards to making daily court recordings ready for the relevant lawyers involved in the case. …”The tribunal chairman also turned down Mr. Agabi’s request for the daily proceedings of the court, saying such request would overburden the tribunal’s registry”

  • Abraham

    @NLC, all Units and Allies

    Please announce a date to occupy NASS, this is complete madness.

  • smart G

    Please of all the past 40 state governors with Saraki , how many has been investigated by the CCB

    • Karl Imom

      You have a case against any of them, then go to court. It is your right. Someone had a case with Saraki, so he went to court. That’s democracy

  • Olamide

    Rogue