‘Fire destroyed documents on Saraki’s alleged foreign funds transfer’
The witness, a senior staff of the bank, said during cross-examination led by the defence counsel, Paul Usoro (SAN), that he did not have the opportunity of seeing the said document before it was destroyed by the fire.He also stated that he did not know whether Saraki operated an account with Fortis Bank in the United Kingdom (U.K) as at 2010, when he was the executive governor of Kwara state.
When the witness was referred to exhibit 8 and 9, which bore names and addresses of customers of Fortis Bank, he said he has no knowledge of the account numbering of Fortis Bank.The lead prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), while re-examining the witness, said he should clear the air in the contradictions in his testimony during his evidence in chief and his statement while under cross-examination.
This was to the effect that the witness was said to have given names of some of the beneficiaries of the transfer of the funds to include the defendant in paragraph 59 of the document only to say in another breadth that he could not confirm the account into which the fund was sent to.
Jacobs insisted there was the need for the witness to clear the ambiguity, adding that the witness had said in his evidence in chief that the defendant gave instructions for the transfer of the funds.But the defence counsel objected to that line of re-examination on the ground that there was nothing ambiguous in the testimony of the witness.
According to the defense, the witness had clearly told the tribunal that he was not in the position to say anything as regards the fund transfer because he was not in the department when those transfers were made, and that the document generated was destroyed by fire in 2011.
The tribunal chairman agreed with the defence counsel that there was nothing ambiguous in the testimony of the witness because he said he did not see the request form for the transfer of the fund.
The witness on Tuesday had told the tribunal that Saraki made foreign funds transfer of over $3 million while he was governor of Kwara State and that he also made several transactions, including a transfer of over $73,000 from his dollar account with GTB to his foreign account with American Express Service Europe Limited.
The witness had said that the purpose of the transfer was to fund a foreign credit card belonging to the American Express Bank and owned by the defendant.“He has a domiciliary account with the GTB in US dollars and in pounds sterling. The domiciliary account is domiciled in Ilorin”, he had told the Tribunal in his evidence in chief on Tuesday.
The witness had also testified that Saraki made other transfers including the transfer of £761, 904. 76 in February 2010 and £632, 411.7 to Fortis Bank in London.After the re-examination of the witness, Jacobs informed the Tribunal that the third witness of the prosecution was not in court and consequently, the defence counsel asked the court for an adjournment. The Tribunal granted the application and adjourned till February 8 and 9, for continuation of trial.Saraki is facing trial on a 13-count charge, bordering on false declaration of assets to which he pleaded not guilty.
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