The President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, on Tuesday alleged before the Code of Conduct Tribunal sitting in Abuja that his assets declaration form of 2003 has been tampered with, hence the reason the original copy of the form was not presented before the tribunal.
Saraki is standing trial over alleged false assets declaration, while he was the governor of Kwara State between 2003 and 2011.
At the resumed trial on Tuesday, the counsel to Saraki, Paul Erokoro (SAN), levelled the allegation while cross examining the prosecution witness, Michael Wetkas.
Under cross examination, Wetkas was asked whether he saw the original copy of Exhibit 1, which is Saraki’s assets declaration form?, in the cause of investigation.
Wetkas initially stated that he never saw the original copy but on a second thought he reversed himself and said he sighted the form from one Samuel Majemu of the CCB.
When asked why the original copy of the form was not brought before the tribuna?l, Wetkas stated that he always worked with the Certified True Copy furnished by the CCB because it is a replica of the original and it serves the same purpose.
It was at that point that Erokoro submitted: “Whoever is prosecuting the defendant is hiding something by not having bringing the original copy before this tribunal.
“If it is important for the investigative team to see the original, then why is it not important for the tribunal to see it?”
Wetkas, however, denied the allegation, saying the form was filled and signed by Saraki before a competent Judge.
When the witness was asked if he was aware that the Assets Declaration Form submitted by the Defendant in 2003 was tampered with since it contained some entries of properties that were not put on sale by the Federal Government until 2006, Wetkas said: “As far as I am concerned, Exhibit 1 was signed by the defendant himself on September 16, 2003.”
Also when asked if he inserted No. 15a and b, McDonald Street, Ikoyi, he denied.
When also asked if he knew who did it, the witness stated that the Code of Conduct Bureau is a responsible organisation and he would not believe it would have done that.
Still under cross examination, Wetkas admitted that the defendant was worth $22 million, £12 million, €2.6 million and N4 billion in cash, movable and landed assets before he became Governor of Kwara State in 2003 as it was contained in his assets declaration form of 2003.
Erokoro however led Wetkas in reading from the asset declaration form, which Saraki submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau on assumption of office as governor in 2003.
Eroloro submitted that he needed to take Wetkas through the form to debunk the impression created by the witness earlier in his evidence-in-chief that Saraki would not have been able to buy property without obtaining a bank loan.
Wetkas confirmed that there were 16 vehicles, which were cumulatively worth N263,400,000.
The vehicles are Mercedes Benz S320 valued at N16 million; Mercedes S500 valued at N20 million; Mercedes G500 valued at N6 million; Mercedes V220 valued at N2 million; Ferrari 456GT valued at N25 million; Navigator valued at N15 million; Mercedes MN240 valued at N8.5 million; and Peugeot 405 valued at N2.9 million.
Other vehicles included Mercedes CLK 320 valued at N9 million; Mercedes E320 valued at N11 million; Mercedes G500 bullet proof valued at N45 million; Mercedes S500 valued at N30 million; Lexus jeep bullet-proof valued at N30 million; and Linclon Navigator bullet proof valued at N25 million.
“By my calculation, the total worth is N263,400,000,” Wetkas said.
He confirmed that Saraki’s landed property was worth between N2.5 billionn and N3.5 billion
He confirmed that Saraki’s cash was worth about N50 million.
He also confirmed that the total assets declared by Saraki, including that of his wife and his two children under 18, in 2003, was worth $22 million, £12 million, €2.6 million and N4 billion.
The tribunal has adjourned till Wednesday for the continuation of the trial.