Prosecution witness, Mr. Michael Wetkas, in the ongoing trial of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, before the Code of Conduct Bureau, said on Wednesday that some landed assets bearing the names of some companies actually belonged to the Senate President.
The Federal Government is prosecuting Saraki on 16 counts, including false and anticipatory asset declaration in his asset declaration forms which he submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau between 2003 and 2011 when he served as the governor of Kwara State.
Wetkas, a detective with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, led the team that investigated the intelligence report that gave rise to the charges instituted against the Senate President.
Fielding questions under cross-examination, the EFCC detective faulted the claim of the defence lawyer, Mr. Paul Usoro (SAN), that the landed assets bearing the names of companies belonged to the firms and not to Saraki.
Wetkas, who was in the witness box for about the 10th day of cross-examination by the defence lawyers on Wednesday, had earlier given evidence of how Saraki acquired some landed assets in Lagos and Abuja through his companies including Tiny-Tee Limited and Carlisle Properties and Investments Limited.
On Wednesday, the witness was cross-examined by Usoro on Count 6 in which the prosecution alleged that Saraki on assuming office as the governor of Kwara State in 2003 failed to declare his property at 1, Targus Close, Maitama, Abuja, which he allegedly acquired through Carlisle Properties and Investments Limited in 1993.
Usoro had said while cross-examining the witness, “If your lordships look at Count 6, it indicates that the defendant acquired this property in 1993.
“The facts as they are coming out are showing different things entirely. We want to achieve that Carlisle is different from the defendant.”
But in response, the witness insisted that the property belonged to Saraki despite the fact that the name on the power of attorney issued with respect to the property bore the name of Carlisle.
Wetkas said, “Even if the documentation is in the name of Carlisle Properties Limited, we are of the belief that the properties belong to the defendant because Carlisle Properties Limited is his company and he later declared the property as his own in the other asset declaration forms.”
When confronted by Usoro with documents obtained from the Corporate Affairs Commission with respect to the property at 1, Targus Close, Maitama, Abuja, Wetkas confirmed that the two shareholders of Carlisle were Saraki’s wife, whose name was given as Oluwatoyin Ojora, and another Limited liability company, Babs Trading and Manufacturing Limited.
He also confirmed that Saraki’s wife told the EFCC that Carlisle belonged to Saraki.
Wetkas said, “The two shareholders were Babs Trading and Manufacturing Limited and Oluwatoyin Ojora.
“Oluwatoyin Ojora is the wife of the defendant.
“She confirmed that this company, Carlisle, belonged to the defendant.
“She also told us that the company belonged to the defendant and the second director, Babs Trading and Manufacturing Limited, is a company which the defendant declared as his own.
“The position of Oluwatoyin Ojora that the company belonged to the defendant was confirmed by the Managing Director of Carlisle Properties Limited.”
But Wetkas confirmed that Saraki’s name was not mentioned in the Form CAC 2A obtained from the Corporate Affairs Commission.
The witness also confirmed that Oluwatoyin Ojora and Babs Trading Manufacturing Limited never relinquished nor sold their shares in the company.
He confirmed that he did not confront Saraki with the claim that the company belonged to him.
He also confirmed that the property at 1, Targus Close, Maitama, Abuja was the same as Plot 2482 Cadastrial Zone A06, Maitama, Abuja.
The tribunal chairman, Danladi Umar, adjourned the trial till June 1 for further cross-examination of the witness.
The lead prosecuting counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), had urged the tribunal to let the trial continue on Thursday while complaining that the defence had been on the cross-examination for too long.
“I have never seen where cross-examination lasts for 10 days. If your lordships adjourn today, the next date will be the 11th day,” Jacobs said.
But the lead defence counsel, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), faulted Jacobs’ claim, contending that while the prosecution was anxious to get Saraki convicted, the defence was anxious and ready to stop that through cross-examination and other legitimate means