fbpx Saraki Received Salary As Governor Till 2015 – Witness | The Beat 99.9 FM

The Federal Government, Wednesday told the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) that the Dr. Bukola Saraki collected salaried as governor of Kwara State for four years after his tenure had ended. The main witness, Mr. Michael Wetkass, who is a Detective Superintendent with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and headed a three-man team that investigated six separate pensions that culminated in the 13-count criminal charge Saraki is facing, told the Tribunal; that the investigation revealed that, while Saraki’s tenure ended on May 29, 2011, he stopped collecting salary on August 31, 2015.

Wetkass told the Tribunal that as at September 16, 2015 when then Access Bank PLC account Saraki used for his governorship salary and pension was closed, it had a debit balance of N599,091.63, and that the account had a balance, as at June 3, 2015, of N52,372,417. He said: “On August 29, 2011, there was another payment into the account by order of Kwara State government for N744, 002. On September 29, 2011, the salary was N743,902. 33; October 27, 2011, N1,165, 466.12 and the same amount was also paid to the defendant in November and December 28, 2011. The same N1,165,466.12 was paid to the defendant as salary on February 1, 2012. Payment of salary into the account stopped on August 31, 2015. Funds that entered into this account was from the Kwara State government. The salary and pension that was later paid into the account, the balance as at June 3, 2015, was N52,372,417. On June 3, there was a transfer from the account in the sum of N25 million to Guarantee Trust Bank, GTB, leaving the account in debit balance of N2,628,632.39. There was also debit transfer of N30 million to GTB from this salary account of the defendant in Access Bank. At the closing of the account on September 16, 2015, it was in a debit balance of N599,091.63.”

 

Giving a chronological account of financial activities of the defendant, the witness said: “There was N10 million cash lodgement by Abdul, who was personal assistant to the defendant. On March 24, 2005, there was another transaction by the same Abdul to the tune of N8.24 million. On March 29, 2006, there was transaction of N200.640 million in favour of Implementation Committee on the sale of government properties. It was a bank draft. On the same March 29, 2006, there was also credit disbursement of loan in favour of the defendant to the tune of N200 million, which preceded the bank draft. On the same day, there was another loan disbursement of N380 million from GTB. On the same day, there were two bank drafts compiled in one transaction for the sum of N256,312,815, in favour of the implementation committee on Federal Government landed property.

 

“ On October 16, 2005, there was another draft of N12,815,000, in favour of the implementation committee. The bank drafts were meant for the purchase of properties from the implementation committee by Saraki. On February 5, 2007, there was another disbursement by GTB into the Naira account, of N380 million. On February 27, 2007, there was cash deposit of N3 million by one Josiah Samuel, while on April 3, 2007, there was a telegraphic transfer of N180,675,000. According to the narration in the account, the transaction was on instruction of the defendant in favour of the Presidential Committee, as part payment for a property. On September 18, 2007, Ubi made cash deposits in five tranches on the same day into the same account in GTB. The sums are N11 million, N20 million, N20 million, N20 million and N6 million. The total amount was N77 million. Before the lodgements were made, the account had a debit balance of N81,960,289. On November 22, 2007, there were cash lodgements into the account by Abdul Adama in 50 different transactions, totalling about N45 million. Before the lodgements, the account was in a debit balance of N80,210,976.70.

 

“On November 29, 2007, there were cash lodgements by Ubi, in over 20 transactions and the total sum is about N20 million. “On March 14, 2008, there were several cash lodgements by different individuals. Before then, the account had a debit of N96,857,885.17. On April 18, it was the same thing; there were cash lodgements by various individuals. On September 23, 2008, the same thing happened; there were several cash lodgements by different individuals with different names. On April 30, 2009, there was a draft in favour of BGL Assets Management Limited for N400 million. On same day, there were also several cash lodgements by several individuals. There was a lodgement of N65 million after which there was a loan disbursement of N400 million, followed by several cash lodgements by different individuals.”

 

Meanwhile, the Federal Government submitted 25 sets of documents into evidence before the CCT. Among them were the letters EFCC wrote to GTB for details of the telex transactions, statements of accounts, request of information on the Pounds Sterling account and financial details from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Other exhibits were letters of investigation on ownership of the three Abuja choice properties traced to Saraki and replies from Abuja Geographical Information Service, AGIS, as well as copies of the petitions that led to the trial.

 

However, Saraki’s lead counsel, Chief Kanu Agabi SAN, said he would reserve his objections to the documents till a later stage of the trial. On Tuesday, the FG submitted six separate assets declaration forms the defendants filed and submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, between 2003 and 2015 while Saraki submitted four of the assets declaration forms while he held sway as governor of Kwara State from 2003 to 2011, the other two forms contained the list of assets he declared in 2015.

 

Yesterday, in response, the Kwara State government denied paying Saraki salary after he left office in May 2011. Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Alhaji Isiaka Gold explained that Dr Saraki’s last salary was N291,474.00 for the month of May 2011. In his statement, he said “From June 2011, former Governor Saraki started receiving his pension which was N578,188.00 as other past governors in the country.” He added that after the review of pensions of former political office holders by the State Pension Board, Saraki’s pension increased to N1,239,493.94 monthly from October 2014 to date. He also dismissed claims that the former governor was receiving salaries after the expiration of his tenure and advised interested stakeholders to seek clarification from appropriate authorities to avoid misleading the public.

 

In a statement released in Ilorin yesterday, Abdulwahab Isa, the Director-General of Abubakar Bukola Saraki Constituency Office, otherwise known as Mandate, claimed that since Saraki left office in May 2011, his pension has been managed by a board of trustees and used for an education endowment fund for students in the state. He stressed that Saraki did not even have access to the account and the money was being used to pay scholarship grants and funds for Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, JAMB, forms for students across the state. He said “We have also used the money to pay for coaching of students, who were preparing for JAMB examinations. For example, the most recent beneficiaries from the funds were two University of Ilorin Faculty of Law students, who were the best in their set and needed money for their enrollment into the Nigerian Law School.” The tribunal, led by Justice Danladi Umar has adjourned further hearings till April 18.

 

The charges against Saraki include false/anticipatory declaration of assets, operation of foreign bank accounts while in office as governor and allegation that he acquired wealth beyond his legitimate earnings. He was accompanied by less than 20 senators yesterday and this may be connected with the efforts being made to remove him as Senate President due to the criminal charges against him. 

Photo Credit: 
vanguardngr.com, gist.ng

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