An investigator with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Olamide Sadiq, has told Justice Mohammed Liman of a Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos, how a former Senate President and ex-governor of Kwara State, Bukola Saraki, diverted funds belonging to the Kwara State Government to build private houses at 17 and 17A McDonald Road, Ikoyi, Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos.
The EFCC had secured an order of interim forfeiture of the properties, which was published in The Nation Newspaper of October 25, 2019.
Subsequently, the anti-graft agency had approached the court for a final forfeiture of the properties, prompting the court to fix a date for both parties to call deponents and witnesses.
Testifying before the court, an operative of the EFCC, who was led-in-evidence by Nnaemeka Omewa narrated how investigation indicated certain infractions relating to monies withdrawn from the state’s treasury during the administration of Saraki spanning 2003 to 2011.
He also told the court that findings necessitated the extension of investigation to the accounts belonging to the state and to interview more persons believed to be in the know of how monies withdrawn from the accounts of the state were paid into the GTB account of Saraki.
According to Sadiq, those interviewed during investigation said that there was a directive from Saraki that the money withdrawn be given to one Abdul Adama, a personal aide of the former governor.
He said, “As part of investigation, we wrote to GTB requesting for the bank statement of Dr Bukola Saraki, and there was need to interrogate Mr Bayo Abdulrahman Daudu.
“We were able to lay our hands on some of the documents but some had been mutilated; the documents showed several payments of money withdrawn from the state coffers and deposited at various times into the account of Saraki domiciled in GTB.
“From investigation, these properties in question were purchased with loan obtained from GTB which was paid off with money withdrawn from the state, deposited into Saraki’s GTB account to defray the loan.
“The same period the money were withdrawn from the Government House account, they were deposited into the account of Saraki.”
Earlier in the course of proceedings, Omewa had also called on Yusuf as a witness, who also corroborated his role in withdrawing money from the Government House account based on the instruction of his boss, Isiaka Kareem, then Controller, Finance and Account at the Government House, to be given to persons on a list given to him by Isiaka.
About N1,160,000,000 withdrawn from the government account was alleged by the EFCC to have been diverted over the period of investigation.
Saraki’s counsel, Kehinde Ogunwumiju (SAN), while cross-examining the witnesses, however, argued that in his personal status as an accomplished businessman before becoming governor, Saraki was capable of acquiring properties without government money.
The case has been adjourned until December 16, 2020 for final written addresses.