GTBank official denies seeing documents on Saraki’s foreign accounts

Senate President Bukola Saraki
Senate President Bukola Saraki

The second witness in the ongoing trial of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, at the Code of Conduct Tribunal on Wednesday said he never saw the documents relating to foreign accounts allegedly maintained by Mr. Saraki with the Guaranteed Trust Bank, GTB, while he was governor of Kwara State.

He said the documents were destroyed by a fire outbreak at the bank.

The witness, Amazu Nwachukwu, the head of funds transfer unit of the bank, had told the tribunal on Tuesday that Mr. Saraki maintained foreign accounts while serving as a public officer.

But on Wednesday, Mr. Nwachukwu said the bank documents on the said foreign accounts abroad were burnt in a fire outbreak at the GTB, before the arraignment of Mr. Saraki.

He added that he never saw the said documents, since he was not the officer responsible for the transfer when it took place.

Answering questions from Mr. Saraki’s lawyer, Paul Usoro, on whether there was evidence that the documents explaining the said transactions belonged to his client, Mr. Nwachukwu said he was not aware of any such evidence.

Mr. Nwachukwu had testified during an earlier examination that a set of documents relating to the foreign transfers had been sent to the EFCC following a request by the commission.

“I was not the officer responsible for the documents that were forwarded to the EFCC,” Mr. Nwachukwu however stressed.

The chairman of the tribunal, Danladi Umar, adjourned the matter to February 8, for continuation of trial.

The first prosecution witness, Michael Wetkas, a member of the investigating team at the EFCC, had also said during his cross-examination by the same lawyer in April 2016 that the documents were destroyed by fire before the trial began.

Mr. Wetkas, however, said there was proof of the transaction relating to count 11 of the charge against Mr. Saraki.

“There is an affidavit and I believe it was fire outbreak,” he stated.

Mr. Wetkas told the tribunal that his investigative team came across the information concerning Mr. Saraki’s foreign account through several telexes from the American Express Bank, provided to the team by GTB.

He added that the requests made by his investigation team for the telexes was a result of a debit transaction noticed in Mr. Saraki’s account.

“There is no doubt that the transaction was actually carried out by American Express Bank,” the witness said. “A debit in the account of the defendant was there and the narration was clear that money was transferred and where it was transferred from.”

Mr. Wetkas added that GTB was invited and that the bank confirmed what it earlier stated regarding the transfer and the burnt documents.

“There were also police reports and affidavit which they (the GTB) swore to show that some documents were burnt,” he stated

Mr. Saraki is facing trial for alleged false and anticipatory declaration of asset, while he was governor of Kwara State.

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