Ex-CCB member confirms discrepancies in Saraki's assets forms

Date: 2018-02-07

A former member of the Code of Conduct Bureau, Dr. Ademola Adebo, on Tuesday appeared before the Code of Conduct Tribunal in Abuja confirming the discrepancies in the assets declaration forms submitted to the bureau by the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki. Shortly after the witness gave his evidence-in-chief and was cross-examined by the prosecution, the defence team which had earlier announced that they had lined up four defence witnesses to testify, suddenly made a U-turn by closing their defence with Adebo's testimony.

Adebo was a member of the board of the CCB dissolved by the Federal Government in June 2017.

But the witness insisted at the resumed hearing of Saraki's trial on Tuesday that he remained a commissioner of the bureau since he and some of his colleagues had a pending suit challenging their removal from office.

A member of the defence team, Mr. Paul Usoro (SAN), who led Adebo in evidence, announced at the beginning of the Tuesday's proceedings that they had proposed four defence witnesses.

After the cross-examination of the witness by the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), Usoro attempted to ask two re-examination questions.

The re-examinations were objected to by the prosecution.

The tribunal sustained the objections by overruling the questions.

Usoro was still engaging the two CCT members on how to agree on the next hearing date for the continuation of the defence, when the lead defence counsel, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), walked to Saraki who was seated in the dock.

Agabi, after discussing with Saraki for a few seconds, returned to his seat to announce the closing of the defence's case.

The CCT chairman, Danladi Umar, then fixed February 27 for adoption of addresses.

The tribunal will fix a date for judgment after the parties adopt their written addresses on February 27. Saraki's trial resumed on Tuesday following the December 12, 2017 judgment of the Court of Appeal in Abuja, which restored three out of the entire 18 counts earlier dismissed by the CCT by upholding Saraki's no-case submission.

Following the judgment of the Court of Appeal, the CCT had issued a hearing notice inviting parties to the case to resume trial on the three charges on Tuesday.

At the resumed hearing of the case on Tuesday, Saraki’s team called Adebo as the first defence witness.

Led in evidence by a member of the defence team, Usoro Adebo, after reeling out his educational qualifications and some details of his experience at the CCB, was shown three assets declaration forms earlier submitted by Saraki to the CCB.

He read out the portions of Saraki's assets declaration forms earlier admitted as Exhibits 4, 5 and 26.

The portions read by Adebo related to the Senate President's declared means of acquiring the properties at 17A and B, McDonald Street, Ikoyi, Lagos.

Exhibit 4 was Saraki’s assets declaration form which he submitted to the CCB in 2007 on assumption of office of the governor of Kwara State.

Exhibit 5 was Saraki's assets declaration form submitted in June 2011 at the end of his tenure as governor of Kwara State for the second term.

Exhibit 26 was Saraki's assets declaration form submitted to the CCB on June 6, 2011 on his assumption of office as a senator-elect in 2011.

When asked to read the declaration of properties 17A and 17B McDonald Street, Ikoyi, as contained in Exhibit 5, the witness stated that Saraki declared that he acquired the properties through "proceeds of sale of rice and sugar commodities."

Adebo also read from Exhibit 26, the declaration made by Saraki on assumption of office as senator-elect on June 6, 2011, stating that the Senate President had also claimed to acquire the same properties “through proceeds of sales of rice and sugar commodities."

But Adebo also read from Exhibit 4, the assets declaration form made by Saraki on assumption of office of the governor of Kwara State in 2007, claiming to have acquired the properties through loans obtained from Guaranty Trust Bank.

Earlier, Adebo had said he was appointed a CCB member in April 2010 but resumed duties April 30, 2010.

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