Thursday, 19 January 2017

Saraki’s CCT trial: Banker says documents relating to foreign account burnt

he prosecution in the trial of Senate President Bukola Saraki before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) in Abuja is set to demonstrate how he allegedly operated his foreign accounts which he is accused of failing to declare.

 The prosecution team, led by Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), which is scheduled to call its third witness, yesterday led evidence to support its claim that Saraki operated foreign accounts as a public officer.

The second prosecution witness, Amazu Nwachuckwu, who is Head of Funds Transfer Unit, Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank), told the court on January 17 that Saraki operated foreign accounts between 2009 and  2012, while serving as a public officer.

Saraki was Kwara State Governor between 2003 and 2011.  Since 2011, he has been a senator.

Among the 16 counts on which he is being tried before the CCT is that he operated foreign accounts and failed to declare them, acts which the prosecution said, offend public service rules.

At the resumption of his testimony yesterday, Nwachukwu said some of the documents relating to the transfer of funds to the foreign accounts were destroyed in a fire on December 24, 2011 at the GTB Ilorin branch.

Nwanchukwu, who was cross-examined yesterday by Saraki’s lawyer, Paul Usoro (SAN), said he was not in the unit in 2010 when the said fund transfer to American Express Service Ltd was made by Saraki.

On whether he was familiar with the operations of Fortis Bank (one of the alleged operators of Saraki’s foreign accounts), Nwanchukwu said no.

He confirmed a transaction in relation of funds transfered by the Senate President to one of the foreign accounts.

“In the transaction, the defendant (Saraki) made with my bank (GTB)in 2010, the beneficiary of the transaction is American Express Services Ltd,

“I can see the name of the beneficiary clearly and the bank account of the beneficiary based on the document given to me by the prosecution,” he said.

During re-examination by Jacobs, Nwanchukwu clarified his position on the foreign accounts allegedly linked to Saraki.

“I have made it clear that I never worked with the Fortis bank of London.  I do not know how they number their customers’ accounts and I do not have any knowledge of any foreign account belonging to Saraki with the bank.

“I do not have any account with Fortis Bank, I never had any contact with the bank in relation to the defendant. I do not know how bank accounts are opened at the bank, I can only speak for my own bank,” Nwanchukwu said.

At the conclusion of Nwanchukwu’s evidence yesterday, Jacobs indicated his intention to call the third prosecution witness. Usoro rejected that and called for an adjournment, which Tribunal  Chairman Danladi Umar accepted. He adjourned till February 8 for the prosecution to call its witness.

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