This is an independent report written by a Lagos lawyer. Read below…
At the ongoing cross-examination of the star witness in the trial of Senator Bukola Saraki, Mr. Michael Wetkas, an operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has admitted, based on questions from Saraki’s counsel, that the EFCC did not investigate the accuracy of some of the exhibits presented as proof in the trial of the Senate President.
Saraki’s defense team, led by a former Attorney-General of the Federal, Mr. Kanu Agabi, have poked several holes in the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) case against the Senate President in their thorough scrutiny of Mr. Wetkas’ testimony.
For example, Mr. Wetkas has acknowledged that neither he nor his team investigated Exhibits 11, 12 and 13 of the charges leveled against the Senate President. An online news portal, The Nation, owned by Mr Tinubu, the Southwest leader of APC that Saraki fingered as being behind his ordeal, reported that Mr. Wetkas said the petitions pertaining to the three exhibits were not investigated by him.
Exhibit 11, which was dated May 22nd, 2012, contained a petition written by the Kwara Freedom Network inviting the EFCC to investigate the Kwara State Universal Basic Education Board.
The witness, while giving evidence in chief, told the tribunal that the petition by the Kwara Freedom Network triggered the investigation.
“Exhibit 12 was dated on May 7, 2011 but was addressed to the Chairman of the EFCC asking the anti-graft agency to investigate the Kwara State Government on borrowings for projects described as phoney. Exhibit 13 was a petition dated June 7, 2012, which dwelt on the mismanagement of local government revenue in Kwara State between 2003 and 2011.”
It was also observed that the EFCC did not interrogate the Accountant General of Kwara State to clarify the allegations levelled against Senator Saraki. The EFFC witness said that interrogating the Accountant General was not part of his investigation, despite the fact that a careful investigation into the petition required such an enquiry.
The EFCC’s witness also stated that his team did not also get any verifiable document to back the petition written against Senator Saraki.
Also under cross-examination, the witness admitted that investigating the assets declared by the defendant did not form part of his schedule of duty. He also admitted that Exhibits 3, 4 and 5, being the asset declaration forms of the defendant, were duly examined and stamped by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and not the EFCC, his employer.
He added that there was nowhere in the petition he investigated where Saraki’s assets declaration was in contention, bringing into question why the the Senate President has been dragged before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, a body that is solely meant to hold public servants accountable on their asset declarations.
As more and more holes are drilled into EFFC’s star witness’ account, if the law is followed, a mistrial might be declared, leaving the Senate President vindicated of the 13-count charge that he has been on trial for.