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How Saraki used state funds to defray loan –EFCC

An investigator with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Olamide Sadik, yesterday narrated before Justice Mohammed Liman of a Federal High Court in Lagos how a former Governor of Kwara State and the immediate past Senate president, Dr. Bukola Saraki, used state funds to defray the loan he obtained from Guarantee Trust Bank Plc., to purchase two property in Lagos. Sadik made the narration while testifying in a suit filed by the EFCC to forfeit the two property.

While being led in evidence by EFCC’s lawyer, Emeka Omewa, the witness informed the court that sometime in 2009, his boss, who was the zonal head for the Ilorin zone of the anti-graft agency, asked him to join an ongoing investigation of some property linked to Saraki. He said he immediately commenced work by inviting one Bayo Abdulrahaman, a bank official, to produce Saraki’s statement of account.

He added that in the course of his interaction with the said Abdulrahaman, he was able to retrieve a letter of loan offered Saraki for the purchase of two property from the Presidential Committee on Sales of Government Property.

The witness added that investigation by his team also revealed that the loan was disbursed to the Presidential Committee on Sales of Government Property with drafts issued to the committee. He further informed the court that apart from his investigative activities with GTB, he also had an interface with the cashier of Kwara State Government House, Hafeez Yusuf. Sadik added that his investigation and interaction with Yusuf revealed that one Abdul Adama, a domestic servant to Saraki, usually and constantly withdrew cash from Government House and paid to Saraki’s account with the bank, while the funds are in turn used to repay the loan obtained from the lender.

The witness also told the court that several lodgements of funds were made into the account with ‘fictitious names’ which were untraceable, while some were done with a single name. He said: “EFCC’s investigation also revealed that Adama was collecting an average of N100 million monthly and depositing same to Saraki’s personal account which was eventually used to repay the loans obtained from the bank to purchase the property in Lagos.

“To beat the anti-money laundering Act, the money was deliberately being structured and this led the bank to write the Financial Intelligent Unit (FIU) complaining about the way money was being paid into the account.

“The summary of our investigation is that Dr. Bukola Saraki obtained loan from GTB to buy the property, but repaid the loan from money being collected by Abdul Adama, his domestic aide and other unidentified people to repay the loan.”

Earlier, the Government House cashier, Yusuf, had told the court he used to give money to Adama, on the instruction of his boss, Isiaka Kareem. During cross-examination by Saraki’s lawyer, Kehinde Ogunwomiju (SAN), the two witnesses told the court that they did not have any interface with the former Senate President. Upon the conclusion of EFCC’s evidence, Saraki’s lawyer told the court that he is relying on the antigraft agency’s evidence as his defence in the suit. The court also turned down a request by EFCC’s lawyer to summon one Kennedy Izuagbe, an aide to Saraki, to give evidence as to the affidavit he deposed to in response to the suit. The suit has been adjourned to December 16 for adoption of parties’ final written addresses.

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