Counsel to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Paul Usoro, SAN, on Tuesday said there is no evidence linking Saraki to the property the Federal Government is accusing him of not declaring.
Usoro put up the argument during the cross examination of an operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Michael Wetkas, who is a principal witness in the ongoing trial.
According to Usoro, “There is no evidence before this tribunal that as at 2008 the defendant was in possession of the property of 15a Macdonald Street, Ikoyi Lagos.”
Usoro explained that contrary to Wetkas earlier statement, as at 2008, Tiny Tee, a company owned by Saraki was not in possession of the property.
Wetkas had earlier told the tribunal that the Senate President during his assets declaration of 2008 did not declare the property of 15a Macdonald Street Ikoyi, Lagos.
The witness had said “Our findings shows that 15a and b MacDonald Street, Ikoyi Lagos property is the same as blocked 15 flat a and b MacDonald Street Ikoyi Street, Lagos.
“The letter from the Presidential Implementation committee on Sales of Government Properties did not tell us that 15a and b existed separately.”
“The managing Director of Carlye property also said the property belonged to the defendant.”
Wetkas alleged that Saraki in his asset declaration of 2011 declared the property as 15a and b.
He said, “There was a letter by the ministry of Housing to Saraki, saying there was a Presidential concession that number 15 MacDonald Street Ikoyi, Lagos be sold to him. This is why we maintained that there was no property as no 15a and b Macdonald street.”
Responding to a question from Usoro on whether some of the alleged correspondent between the EFCC’s investigating team and the Lagos land Registry on number 15 MacDonald Street Ikoyi, Lagos, was tendered before the tribunal, Wetkas said, “No I did not tender the correspondents because they did not give us information on 15a, the only place we got the information was the President Committee on Implementation of Federal Government Properties.”
On whether the EFCC,’s investigating team came across any document during their investigation that the said property was bought personally by Saraki, Wetkas answered, “We didn’t come across any document that says the property was personally bought for Saraki but we believe this because the property was paid for through the account of Carlye Property and Skyview Properties which he declared.
“Also a loan of N135m was collected from Access bank out of which over N123m was paid and the offer letter from the bank was signed by Saraki’s wife.
“The MD of Carlye Property admitted that all transaction were directed by Saraki and he also listed number 15 as part of the property. Saraki also declared this number 15 in his 2011 assets declaration, these made us believe that the property personally belonged to Saraki.