Lagos Registry has no record of properties linked to Saraki, witness tells CCT
An operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Micheal Wetkas, has told the Code of Conduct Tribunal in Abuja that the Lagos State Land Registry did not have the record of existence of properties at 15 A and 15 B MacDonald Street, Ikoyi allegedly belonging to the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki.
Wetkas, who is a witness in the trial of Saraki on alleged falsification of assets declaration, said the investigating team he led was told in writing by the Lagos Land Registry that the existence of the properties at No. 15 A and 15 B MacDonald Street, Ikoyi was not in their record.
The witness, who was re-examined by the lead prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, based on his earlier evidence-in-chief stunned the tribunal when he admitted that the EFCC based its assumption that Saraki owns the properties on the claim of a Presidential Committee on sales of the Federal Government-owned properties.
Wetkas said that his investigating team was informed by the Presidential Committee that Saraki bought the properties through a company, Carlse Investment Property, when he was the Governor of Kwara State.
Jacobs had re-examined the witness based on the contradiction and confusion on the identities of the properties linked to Saraki, but the witness maintained that he did not go to the federal land registry to clarify issues on the disputed property ownership.
Evidence of Wetkas on May 11, 17 and 18 last year had raised confusion and contradictions on which of the properties actually belonged to the defendant.
He said: “We based our assumption that the defendant (Saraki) owns the property at No. 15, MacDonald Ikoyi on the response of the Presidential Committee on the sales of the Federal Government properties to the effect that the property was alienated one company Carlse Investment Property.”
The witness also maintained that he never interrogated or obtained statements from Saraki on any issue of asset declaration or asset ownership.
He further said that the claim of Saraki that he bought some properties from proceeds of his business transactions could not be disputed by him because he never investigated the business operation scheme of the Senate President.
Meanwhile, further trial in the matter has been adjourned till January 17 by the tribunal Chairman, Danladi Yakubu Umar.
The lead prosecution counsel had applied for one week adjournment on the ground that his other witnesses from Lagos were not around to testify on Wednesday.
Earlier, the leader of the defence team and former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Kanu Agabi, had pleaded with the tribunal to be just and fair in the trial of the charges brought against his client by the Federal Government.
Agabi said that Saraki and the legal team were not happy to be coming to the tribunal and have been looking forward to a day the charge will be terminated in peace to the defendant and to the nation.
“I pray your Lordships to stand up for Justice and free us from this case to stop coming here. That is our prayer,” Agabi tells the tribunal.