Story By Gbenga Ogunbufunmi
An investigator with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Olamide Sadik today, told a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, how former Kwara State Governor and the immediate past Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki used Kwara State money to defrayed the loans he obtained from Guarantee Trust Bank Plc, for the purchase of two properties in Lagos.
Sadik was giving evidence before the court presided over by Justice Mohammed Liman, in a property forfeiture suit instituted by the EFCC against Saraki’s two properties in Ikoyi, Lagos.
The EFCC operative said that sometimes in 2019 his boss who was the Zonal head for Ilorin Zone asked him to join an ongoing investigation into some properties owned by Saraki and that he immediately commenced work by inviting one Mr Bayo Abdulrahaman Dauda of GTB to produce Saraki’s statement of account.
He added that that in the course of his interaction with the said Bayo Abdulrahaman Dauda, the bank officer also provided an offer letter for loans by Saraki for the money to purchase two properties from the Presidential Implementation Committee on the sales of Government Properties.
Apart from the offer letter, the witness said the GTB provided evidence that the loans were actually disbursed Saraki’s account and the money remitted to the Presidential Implementation Committee on Sales of Government Properties with drafts issued to the committee.
The operatives said that apart from his investigative activities with GTBank, he also extended his investigation to the Kwara State Government House, Ilorin by having interface with one Mr Hafeez Yusuf, a Cashier with the Government House account department who was persistently withdrawing money from the government house account with Access Bank PLC .
Sadik added that from his investigation and interaction with Hafeez Yusuf it was discovered that one Abdul Adama, a domestic servant to Saraki usually and constantly withdraws cash from government and paid same to Saraki’s account with GTBank and the same government funds used to repay the loan obtained from GTBank for the purpose of buying the Lagos properties.
The Investigating officer also told the court that several lodgment of funds were made into the account with ‘fictitious names’ while some were done with a single name making it difficult to trace the deporaitors of such funds.
” EFCC investigation also revealed that Abdul Adama was collecting an average of N100 million monthly and depositing same in different tranches to Saraki personal account GTB which was eventually used to repay the loans obtained from the bank to purchase the Lagos properties”.
The investigator added that to beat the anti- money laundering Act, the money was deliberately being structured consequent upon which the bank has to write the Financial Intelligent Unit, FIU, alerting the organiaation about the way money are being paid into the account.
“The summary of our investigation is that Dr Bukola Saraki obtained loans from GTB to buy the properties, but repaid the loans with money collected on his behalf by Abdul Adama, his domestic aide and others unidentified people who paid money into the account.
Prior to the investigator’s evidence, a Chief Accountant in Kwara State’s Government House, Mr Hafis Yusuf, told the court that his he used to give money to Abdul Adama, who was Saraki’s Domestic Aide, on the instruction of his boss, Mr. Isiaka Kareem, a former Controller of Account and Finance in the Kwara State Government House.
During cross-examination by Dr. Saraki’s lawyer, Kehinde Ogunwomiju (SAN), the two witnesses told the court that they did not have any interface with the former Senate President.
Yusuf also told the court that he did not know what the money collected by Adama was used for.
Upon conclusion of EFCC evidence, counsel to Dr. Saraki, told the court that they relied on the evidence of the applicant (EFCC), for their defence in the suit.
Also, the court also refused the EFCC’s application to subpoenaed one of Dr. Saraki’s allies, Kennedy Izuagbe, to give evidence as to the affidavit he deposed to in response to the suit.
The suit has been adjourned till December 16, 2020, for adoption of parties’ final written addresses in the suit.
The EFCC had through its counsel, Nneameka Omenwa, applied to court to forfeit the properties to government on the grounds that the properties were obtained with loans from GTBank and repaid back with Kwara State funds.
The said properties are located at 17 and 17A McDonald Road, Ikoyi, Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State.
But Saraki through his lawyer, Ogunwunmiju (SAN) had told the that the former Senate President was already a successful businessman with properties worldwide before he came into politics.
He told the Court that EFCC must prove to the court that such property was proceed of unlawful activities.