Connect with us

Breaking News

“Saraki Was Richer Than Kwara Government Before He Became Governor” – Lawyer



Paul Erokoro, one of the lawyers of Senate President Bukola Saraki, caused a stir at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on Tuesday when he said his client was richer than the Kwara government before he became governor.

Erokoro said this while cross examining Michael Wetkas, a detective of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

However, his statement elicited the rebuke of Rotimi Jacobs, counsel to the federal government; the prosecution, who said that being rich does not stop a thief from stealing.

Wetkas admitted that the defendant was worth millions in dollars and pounds before he was governor.

He said this was based on the assets declared by Saraki at the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) when he was elected.

“You realised that the defendant was required to declare his assets, those of wife and children below age of 18? What do you see in the (asset declaration form) form?” Erokoro asked the witness.

“Yes. I can see N1.5bn in the defendant’s account. And in the defendant’s wife account, N1.5m in Ecobank,” Wetkas answered.

“The defendant has some shares with African Petroleum worth N3, 645, 550.

“Cash amount of N1, 100: 000, in the name of Tosin Saraki and Seni Saraki.

Earlier, the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Danladi Umar, at the resumed hearing of the trial of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki over false asset declaration, ruled in favour of Saraki as he permitted his counsel to continue the cross-examination of a principal witness, Michael Wetkas of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

Counsel to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), Rotimi Jacobs, objected to Paul Erokoro (SAN), one of Saraki’s lawyers, cross-examining Wetkas, arguing that the defence counsel kept changing the lawyers examining the witness.

Kanu Agabi (SAN), Saraki’s lead counsel, and Paul Usoro (SAN), had earlier cross-examined the witness. “The counsel that started cross examination should finish it. The witness cannot be cross-examined by three lawyers. My learned brother should conclude cross-examining the witness. You can have several lawyers, but only one of them will address the court. That’s why we have lead counsel.

The lead counsel who has started the cross examination is bound to conclude the case. It is not an opportunity for six lawyers to cross examine one witness.

Why I am raising this, is that we have already spent days on cross-examination,” he argued while urging the Tribunal to regulate the proceedings.

In his ruling, Umar held that Saraki had the right to engage as many lawyers as he wanted, and to choose which one of them would speak for him in court.

“The defence has the right to conduct their defence the way it suits them. What we are here to do is to give fair hearing. Paul Erokoro can now conduct the cross examination,” he held.

This is the first ruling the tribunal would give in favour of Saraki. Recalled that Saraki has challenged the jurisdiction of the tribunal and urged the tribunal chairman to disqualify himself from the case.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *