Saraki’s Trial: Witness Admits His Team Did Not Investigate Petitions

At Tuesday’s hearing of the trial of Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), chief prosecution witness, Mr Micheal Wekpas, during cross-examination admitted that neither he nor his team investigated some of the exhibits he had tendered before the Tribunal.

CCT-Saraki

Mr Wekpas, who is an operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), under cross-examination by the defence counsel, Kanu Agabi, told the court he did not investigate the petitions whose exhibits were presented to the court

He said that even though his investigation originated from an intelligence report obtained by the EFCC, he did not have the report, neither was the report before the Tribunal.

On April 5, the witness told the court that a certain petition from the Kwara Freedom Network, as well as other petitions, formed the basis for the start of investigations into the case of alleged false asset declaration by the Senate president.

Wekpas had also told the court that based on the investigations that followed , his team found out that Mr. Saraki was receiving salaries for four years after he completed his terms as governor.

“After the expiration of Mr. Saraki’s second term as governor of Kwara State in 2011, the EFCC received several petitions from various groups in Kwara State, especially the Kwara Freedom Network, bordering on allegations of abuse of office, misappropriation of public funds and money laundering,” he said on April 5.

He added that the petitions were investigated in 2014 and the then chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Lamorde, received an intelligence of suspicious transactions linked to the Senate president.

He also said Mr. Lamorde set up a three-man panel of investigators, made up of himself and two other operatives, Chris Odofin and Nura Bako, to investigate the intelligence report and report back its findings

“In the cause of our investigations, the committee discovered several companies whose activities are linked to the defendant.”

But during cross examination on Tuesday, Mr. Wekpas said the investigation conducted by his team was merely an “offshoot of the analysis of intelligence” received by the EFCC, and that it had nothing to do with the petition.

“To the best of my knowledge, this investigation was the offshoot of the analysis of the intelligence we received.

“The intelligence comes sometimes orally, or in writing. Sometimes our sources want their reports protected; that is why we call it confidential.

“If it is not confidential, we call it petition,” said Mr. Wetkas.

Wekpas said he did not critically access the details of the Kwara Freedom Network but only perused it.

He insisted that the said petition did not form part of the documents that led to the investigation by his team in 2014.

On various occasions he was questioned about the outcome of investigations into the details of the Kwara Freedom Network’s petition, Mr. Wekpas simply said the petition was not part of his team’s investigation,rather another team carried out the investigation.

When asked why he tendered documents he did not investigate, the witness said he carried out the directive of the prosecution.

Lawyers on both sides argued for and against the need for an adjournment to let them look into the documents accepted as evidence.

Counsel to the defence asked the court to allow them the rights written in Section 36 (C) and give them time to critically look into the documents.

However, in his arguments, prosecutor Rotimi Jacobs said the tribunal should stick to the provision of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, and ensure the daily continuation of the matter.

The tribunal ruled in favour of the prosecution.

The case will continue today.

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