The trial of Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, over charges of alleged false declaration of assets continued today.
The trial of the former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe, was stood down to accommodate the Senate President’s trial.
Though counsel to Orubebe complained, he was over ruled by the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Justice Danladi Umar.
cross examination of the Chief prosecution witness, Mr Michael Wekpas began.
The witness was told to go through some of the exhibits he tendered as evidence and he confirmed that his investigation of the defendant’s GTB account shows there are transfers to a foreign account.
He also confirmed that there are several telex transfers on the account, some of which are before the Tribunal as exhibits.
According to him, all the telex the investigating team requested were on almost all the debit transactions consummated on that particular account which showed that the defendant gave instructions for a “tea transfer”.
He further maintained that the investigation team had no doubt that the transaction was made to the American Express Bank in Europe, because the debit on the account of the defendant was done and the narration was clear on why and where the money was transferred to.
He added that the prosecution team further requested for additional information and evidence to show proof of the transaction and several of the instructions and telex were provided by the bank .
Wekpas told the Code of Conduct Tribunal that documents relating to Mr. Saraki’s alleged transfer of $73, 233: 28 were burnt before the commencement of trial.
The witness, Micheal Wetkas, told the tribunal during cross examination by a defence counsel, Paul Usoro, that the documents relating to the said allegation, contained in count 11 of the charge against Mr. Saraki, was reported to have been burnt by a Nigerian bank, the Guaranteed Trust Bank, where the said fund was transferred from.
“There is an affidavit and I believe it was fire outbreak,” he stated
Mr. Wetkas added that GTB was invited and that the bank confirmed what it earlier stated regarding the transfer, and the burnt documents.
“There were also police reports and affidavit which they (the GTB) swore to show that some documents were burnt,” he stated.
While answering questions regarding whether or not he (Mr. Wetkas) knew if the American Express Bank was a bank incorporated or not, he said his investigation only related to the debit card sent from the bank.
“I know the bank exists through open source information. I do not believe anybody will carry his money and throw into a non existent account,” Mr. Wetkas said.
Also when asked if there was anything on the form containing the details of the telex, relating an entry from the American Express Bank, Mr. Wetkas simply stated: “From my investigations that does not necessarily have to be there.”
When Mr. Usoro, insisted on getting a response to that question, Mr. Wetkas said there was nothing referring to the American Express Bank.
The tribunal then went on short recess.
The Nigerian Senate has vowed to stand by its embattled president, Bukola Saraki, to the end, except if he is convicted of corruption allegations by the Code of Conduct of Tribunal.
The deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who led the Senate plenary on Wednesday, said this after the lawmakers met behind closed doors for over two hours.