The trial of Senate President Bukola Saraki in the assets declaration fraud case brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, took a dramatic turn Wednesday, when prosecution witness, Michael Wetkas, who was for the second day running cross examined by the defence lawyer, said documents relating to Saraki’s alleged transfer of $73, 233: 28 were burnt before the commencement of trial.
Wetkas, who is the star witness told the CCT, sitting in Abuja that bulk of evidence linking the defendant to money laundering, was destroyed by fire.
The witness who made the startling disclosure while being cross-examined by one of Saraki’s lawyers, Paul Usoro (SAN), said the burnt evidence would have provided a detailed analysis of how the defendant transferred funds from his Guarantee Trust Bank, GTB, account, to a foreign account he operated with America Express Bank, New York.
Wetkas was the head of a three-man crack team that was set up by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in 2014, to investigate six separate petitions that were lodged against the defendant. Narrating how they carried out the assignment, the witness, said when his team discovered that there were “suspicious fund transfers” involving the defendant, they wrote to GTB, requesting for all the telex for the transfers.
“There is an affidavit and I believe it was fire outbreak,” he stated
“There is no doubt that the transaction was actually carried out by American Express Bank,” the witness said.
“A debit in the account of the defendant was there and the narration was clear that money was transferred and where it was transferred from.”
Wetkas added that GTB was invited and that the bank confirmed what it earlier stated regarding the transfer, and the burnt documents.
“There were also police reports and affidavit which they (the GTB) swore to show that some documents were burnt,” he stated.