Bukola Saraki’s assets form not verified by EFCC , says witness

Senate President Dr. Bukola Saraki during his ongoing trial on false asset declaration at the code of conduct Tribunal in Abuja . Photo Ladidi Lucy Elukpo.

Senate President Dr. Bukola Saraki during his ongoing trial on false asset declaration at the code of conduct Tribunal in Abuja . Photo Ladidi Lucy Elukpo.

• Investigator admits not seeing intelligence report but ‘was briefed’
• Mild drama as another prosecution witness sneaks out of court
• Tribunal rejects plea for adjournment

As the trial of Senate President Bukola Saraki continued yesterday, the first prosecution witness (PW1) admitted before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) that some of the exhibits he tendered earlier were not investigated by his team.

Mr. Micheal Wetkas, an investigator with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), during a cross-examination by the lead defence counsel, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), admitted that he did not investigate the petitions in Exhibits 11, 12 and 13.

Exhibit 11, dated May 22, 2012, was a petition written by Kwara Freedom Network, inviting EFCC to investigate Kwara State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB).

Wetkas had earlier in his evidence in-chief informed the tribunal of the petition by the Kwara Freedom Network. But yesterday, he said that his team did not investigate the petition.

He in fact declined virtually every question put to him by the defence counsel on most of the documents he tendered, stressing that he did not participate in the investigations.

When asked to produce the petitions, Wetkas quickly told the tribunal most of them were oral and intelligence reports from sources who pleaded anonymity . He also admitted most of the intelligence reports he based his investigations on emanated from ‘whistle blowers’.

“Most times to the best of my knowledge, people who bring information prefer anonymity. If it was not in anonymity, it would be called a petition,” he said.

Also, Exhibit 12, which was dated May 7, 2011, was addressed to the chairman of the EFCC asking the anti-graft agency to investigate the Kwara State government on borrowings for projects described as phoney . Exhibit 13 was a petition dated June 7, 2012,‎ which was about the mismanagement of local government revenue in Kwara State between 2003 and 2011.

When asked if in the course of his investigations he had audience with the accountant general of Kwara State, the witness said he did not as that was not part of his assignment. When also asked whether he invited any official of the Kwara State government in the course of investigation, the witness said he did not. On whether he got another written document to buttress the petition written by Kwara Freedom Network, the witness also said he did not.

During further examination, the witness was asked why he tendered documents he did not investigate and for which he could not answer questions . He told the tribunal that he did not tender the exhibits on his own but that they were tendered through him by the prosecution.

Wetkas also admitted under the cross-examination that investigating the assets declaration of the defendant did not form part of his schedule of duty. He, however, admitted that exhibits three, four and five which were assets declaration forms of the defendant were duly examined and stamped by the Code of Conduct Bureau.

The exchange went like this: Agabi: “There was a stamp to show that assets declared were examined. Did you come across the report of this in exhibit three?’’

Witness: “I did not. The investigation was the offshoot of the intelligence report we received.”

Agabi: “I put it to you that there was no intelligence report.’’

Witness: “I am under oath. If there was no intelligence document, I will not come here to say what I have said.”

Agabi: ‘‘Do you have the intelligence report?’’

Witness: “It is at times oral and other times, a piece of information from whistle blowers. Most times, the people who bring the report want the commission to keep their identity confidential. Most times when they come, they go to the higher authorities.

“What we are expected to do is to go and find out whether what we were told has elements of truth. In this case, I said it under oath that documents were handed over to my team. They formed the takeoff point for my team in 2014.”

Agabi: “Do you have these documents?’’

Witness: “The investigation my team conducted was based on intelligence. There were other petitions being investigated by other teams. That was the reason the other team members would be in a better position to answer those questions.”

At this time, Agabi asked the witness to look round the courtroom to see if any of his colleagues from CCB was in the court to assist in answering questions emanating from the assets declaration form. He told the court that Nura Bako was in the court.

Aware that he was not supposed to be in court, having been listed as a prosecution witness, Bako sneaked out of the court but not without the notice of the defence team, who notified the tribunal of the mild drama.

The witness added that in the petition his team investigated, Saraki’s asset declaration was not in contention.

He further said that the investigation of the defendant was based on an intelligence report obtained by the former chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Lamorde and not the three petitions tendered as exhibits.

The witness stated that the six assets declaration forms submitted by Saraki to the CCB were never investigated by his team. He, however, stated that his team was directed to investigate the in‎telligence report alone.

At the end of the day, defence counsel asked for adjournment to enable him and his team to study the exhibits but the Chairman, CCT, Mr Danladi Umar, maintained his earlier position that the trial would continue daily.

“The application for adjournment till next week is hereby refused and the matter shall be heard day by day as earlier ruled”, Umar said.

He consequently adjourned hearing till today by 10:00 a.m. for the continuation of the cross-examination.

Meanwhile, the Bishop of Egba Diocese of the Anglican Church, Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Oludaisi Adekunle yesterday asked Saraki to resign from his position to allow for a thorough investigation over the CCT case.

The bishop who spoke while addressing a press conference to herald the 2016 Diocesan Synod of the church also condemned moves by the Senate to amend the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) Act, insisting that it was an attempt by some of the senators to cover their “tracks and prevent them from being investigated.”

Receive News Alerts on Whatsapp: +2348136370421

  • Bunduma Mohammed

    EFCC should immidiately fire Micheal Wetkas for incompetence. He had all the time to do the verification. Saraki is too desparate and can buy anybody he can as can be seen in witness Micheal Wetkas from EFCC.

    • audu samuel

      Saraki bought or that the prosecuting team didn’t do their home work well.

    • Marcus Ijele

      You are worse than Wetkas in reasoning. The man does not know his work and you are saying he was bought. He did not have the mind of a good investigator. To be a good investigator, you should train yourself to have the mind of an investigator, mind of a criminal and mind of a Lawyer. Do a retreat for yoursel. Ask yourself questions —what is called likely questions, that Lawyers may ask you. Understand that crosss examination is not for you to be comfortable but for you to mess up. He is not bought. He is just a bad product in a bad market. If an investigator is billed to come to court to testify in any case. especially high profile case as this, they go into a room, there he will be schooled before he came to the court. Otherwise, Wetkas will wet his khaki and panties in the court. Waite till Agabi takes on him again.

  • audu samuel

    My father in the Lord,rt rev pls face the Lord’s flock,stay away politics.

  • Marcus Ijele

    Wetkas is a bad investigator. By his conduct and unprofessional presentation and poor investigation, the case is dead on arrival. His answers will be a transport fare for him to jail. A recruite in police is better than him. Here it can be noted that Saraki is unjustly being persecuted. A good principal witness in a real case can never answer like this. Wetkas is a disappointment to the IG and Police in general. Perhaps he is using Saraki to experiment is intelligence. Unfortunately, the SAN asking him qustions is not a baby SAN.

    • Abidilagungun

      Agree with you totally . . . Or, is he playing a script, a sub-text managed by Saraki’s guys, to rubbish the very case against him?

      • Marcus Ijele

        Perhaps,or APC tactically unwilling to continue the case schooled him to sing a discordant song. When the case becomes confused in evidence, it will struck out for lack of————–, you know the reast.

    • share Idea

      When we were shouting that it will be difficult to fight corruption in Nigeria the way Buhari is going without strong institutions, I was called names by some people thinking that I encourage corrupt people.

      Even the die-hard supporters of Buhari can see through this case as what is it – persecution.

      • okpako

        Many thanks… never knew I had a ship mate

      • Marcus Ijele

        Simple my brother. Good morning. I share ideas with you.

  • Auta62

    This case against Saraki may be heading for the dustbin of cases discharged and acquitted for lack of delligent prosecution. The PW1 may embarrass government and those bend on extracting pound of flesh out of Saraki.

  • shasha

    TINUBU was free in ERROR and SARAKI must be JAILED in ERROR. That is the mandate and that is why UMAR DANLADI is still the Chairman of CCT. He specializes in making ERROR. Case Closed.

    • Abidilagungun

      Intelligent submission

  • Deji Fadina

    .. The important thing is not whether Saraki is guilty or not.

    It is that nobody is above the law.

    If there is no credible evidence of illegality,

    You just discharge and acquit him.

    And he gets on with this life.

    Whatever remedy EFCC makes to correct the failure of competent

    ‘evidentiary practices,

    That is their business.

  • Abidilagungun

    Now I know why EFCC prefers media trial – their staff are incompetent, lazy, presumptuous or, perhaps, complicit, so they want to pit the people against the judges. I read this witness’ answers to the defence lawyer’s questions and the very cavalier manner with which the commission equated a petition to fact bothers me… There were no investigations or records of such! Goodness, no wonder they want a secret trial for Dasuki too, because when the questions are asked they would look stupid. A shame indeed. You catch a man we all agree must be a thief and then he slips not through legalese but because of lack of diligent prosecution

  • Mr. Abdin

    Please where is TinuBu?

  • daniel

    Nigerians can know the kind of EFCC and the unprofessional investigators. They only good in media trial. It is a clear case of no investigation but hear say.

  • Boski

    I’m not a lawyer, however, I can see that the defence is doing a good job. His role is to achieve exactly what’s going on amongst the discussants, complete distraction. The case/question is whether Saraki declared his assets or not? Period! All those questions about petitions or what have you in my opinion is neither here nor there. Simple answer must be a yes or no, therefore we all need “to shine our eyes” and focus on the main reason why Saraki is in court.

  • ade

    What a “circus show.”

  • ade

    Incompetence of the highest order and Saraki would likely escape with his “loot.” Nigeria -0, Saraki-1. What a shame.

  • Noble

    In case of this magnitude, there are other team that may be involved in investigating other aspect of the alleged crime. What the led witness did said was that he was not part of those that investigated the alleged asset declaration “The witness stated that the six assets declaration forms submitted by Saraki to the CCB were never investigated by his team. He, however,
    stated that his team was directed to investigate the in‎intelligence report alone”. However, did tender an exhibit of the form Saraki submitted. Also, let not forget that there could be other witness in line. Further, he might be innocent in other charges, but may be found guilty in other. Hence, punishment will be delivered in that regard.