The Federal Government, Tuesday, told the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, sitting in Abuja that the Senate President Dr. Bukola Saraki owned 14 exotic cars worth N263.4million prior to his emergence as the Governor of Kwara State in 2003.
It said the cars were among several movable assets that Saraki declared in the form he filled and submitted before the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, on September 16, 2003.
The government made the disclosure on a day Saraki alleged that the asset declaration form he submitted to the Bureau the same year was doctored. Saraki told the tribunal that FG, in a bid to prosecute him by all means, inserted a building he purchased in 2008 into the asset declaration form he filled and submitted in 2003.
At the resumed hearing on the 16-count criminal charge pending against Saraki before the tribunal, the star witness, Mr. Michael Wetkas, said the defendant equally owned landed properties worth over N3billion.
Wetkas who is a detective at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, was the leader of a three-man crack team that investigated six separate petitions that were lodged against Saraki in 2014.
He said: “I admit that on April 5, I testified before the tribunal where I disclosed that the former EFCC chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, constituted a special team to conduct investigation into petitions against the defendant. “At a point we were asked to work with officials of the CCB. My lord there is no how you will investigate economic and financial crime, that assets will not be involved.
“So normally in the course of our investigations, we ask persons under investigation to fill assets declaration forms provided by the Commission itself. “In this case, the earlier asset declaration form that was used was the one that was forwarded by the CCB.
“In the course of this particular assignment, when CCB volunteered to join in the analysis of the assets that were traced to the defendant, they also brought their own copy of the form just for us to compare if it was one and the same form the defendant filled upon his assumption of office. “I know that the original of exhibit-1 which is the assets declaration form the defendant filled, should be with the CCB.
“I have never seen the original, we only worked with the copy given to us by the Bureau”. However, under further cross-examination by the defence lawyer, Mr. Paul Erokoro, SAN, the witness made a u-turn, saying he actually saw the original of the assets declaration form Saraki submitted to the CCB.
According to him, “The man from the CCB was asked to bring the original, it was from there that the photocopy we tendered to this tribunal was made. “I never said that the defendant was not a man of means or that he only had to take loans to buy properties. I never also said that the defendant was an extremely rich man before he became governor.
“Going by the assets declaration form Exhibit-1, the defendant had more than N1.5billion before he became governor in 2003. “Under appendix 7(a) of Exhibit-1, the defendant’s wife account in Ecobank had the sum of N1.5m in 2003. “Under page 9, the defendant had shares valued at N3,645, 550. “In page 6 of exhibit-1, the defendant had a cash amount of N1.1m in Société generale bank.The amount was in the name of Tosin Saraki and Seni Saraki.
“On appendix 4, under movable property, the defendant declared his ownership of the following cars: Mercedes S320 valued at N16m, Mercedes S500 valued at N20m, Mercedes G500 value at N6m, MercedesV220 valued at N2m, Ferrari 456GT valued at N25m, Navigator valued at N15m, Mercedes MN240 valued at N8.5m, Peugeot 406 valued at N2.9m, Mercedes CLK 320 valued at N9m, Mercedes E320 valued at N11m, Mercedes G500 bullet proof valued at N45m, Mercedes S500 valued at N30m, Lexus Jeep bullet proof valued at N30m, Lincoln Navigator bullet proof valued at N25m.
“The total value of the cars the defendant owned before he became governor in 2003 was N263, 400, 000. 00.
“The defendant’s landed properties as at then was over N3bn. “The defendant was worth more than $22m, 12m pounds, 2.6m Euros and about N4bn before he became governor”.
He said Saraki signed his first assets declaration form on September 16, 2003. When he was asked when the form was examined the witness said the stamp had no date on it.