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Saraki Lied About Buying Property From Proceeds Of Rice But He Actually Obtained Loan – Witness

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BEVERLY HILLS, November 07, (THEWILL) – A detective of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr. Michael Wetkas, on Monday stated that the claim by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki that he bought a property in Lagos with proceeds of sale of rice and sugar was false.

The prosecution witness, who was being cross-examined for the 13th day by the defence, told the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, that the Senate President actually bought the properties at 17A and B, McDonald Street, Ikoyi, Lagos, in 2006 with proceeds of loans he obtained from the Guaranty Trust Bank.

Saraki is being prosecuted by the Federal Government before the Justice Danladi Umar-led CCT on 16 counts, including false and anticipatory asset declaration, which he allegedly made as governor of Kwara State between 2003 and 2011.

At the resumed hearing of the case on Monday , Wetkas was asked by the defence lawyer, Mr. Paul Usoro SAN, to read from the various asset declaration forms completed by the Senate President and earlier admitted by the CCT as exhibits.

Acknowledging the charge which read in part: “You (Saraki) falsely declared a property at 17 A and B Ikoyi, Lagos, which you said you bought from the proceeds of rice and sugar whereas it was a loan from Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB),” Wetkas insisted that it was‎ valid.

He explained that the loan initially obtained was structured to be paid quarterly in five tranches but that as the then Kwara State governor, he was obtaining additional loans from the bank which led to the subsequent restructuring of the loan.

The prosecution witness confirmed that Saraki obtained three loans in the sums of N380m, N380m and N400m in connection with the properties acquired by Saraki.

According to him, “In 2006, the balance was N9,779,109. 79m before the loan was credited. This first loan taken was used to pay the one before. The loan amount was N380m.

“The property it was used to buy was worth N256.3m. There was five per cent charge translated into N12,815,000. It was liquidated on February 5, 2007.

“When the loan was liquidated, it took the balance to a debit balance of N231,552,804.93. Then another loan was taken of N380m on the same February 5, 2007. The second loan was taken to defray the debit. It now gave a credit balance of N98m.

“As of the 2007 declaration, there was debit outstanding of the loan of up to N300m, which was not declared in 2007 declaration. There were other inflows into account the purposes of paying.

“On August 27, 2009, the balance on the account shows an inflow into the account of N100m through banker's cheque. On July 31, 2009, it shows that the account was in debit of about N93,933,654.15.

“After the inflow of N100m on August 27 , it went into credit balance of N6,066,345.6. On April 30, 2009, the account was in debit position of N17m. The on the same date, there was loan disbursement of N400m.”