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Saraki funded undeclared foreign accounts – Banker tells CCT

The Head of the Funds Transfer Unit of the Guaranty Trust Bank, Mr. Amazi Nwachuckwu, appeared before the Code of Conduct Tribunal on Tuesday, giving details of how the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, funded his offshore accounts between 2009 and and 2012.

Nwachukwu, who had within the period served at the Central Clearing and Foreign Operations Units of the bank, appeared before the CCT as the second prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of Saraki on charges bordering on asset declaration.

Saraki was the governor of Kwara State between 2003 and 2011 after which he was elected to the Senate.

The prosecution had alleged that the Senate President did not declare the foreign accounts to the Code of Conduct Bureau while being governor and a Senator during the period.

While being led in evidence by the lead prosecuting counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), he said the Senate President transferred funds to his foreign accounts between 2009 and 2012.

The witness confirmed that Saraki was keeping dollar, pounds sterling and naira accounts domiciled in the Ilorin, Kwara State branch of the GTB.

He said Saraki transferred over $3m from his dollar account to his foreign account during the period.

He also said Saraki transferred the sum of $73,223.28 to America Express Services Euro Limited, New York, through their bank, America Express Bank, New York.

He said, “Dr. Saraki filled the form in Kwara State Government House, Ilorin.

“He gave instruction to transfer the sum of $73,223.28 to the beneficiary America Express Services Euro Limited, New York, through their bank, America Express Bank, New York to account number 730580 maintained by America Express Service Euro Limited.

“The purpose of payment was funding for amounts utilised on AMEX (American Express) cards issued to the customer (dollar credit card no. 374588216836009).

“For his dollar account number 441/441953/2/1/0, the customer signed the fund transfer form. The form was received from the account officer in Ilorin branch. We then processed it and transferred it to our corresponding bank abroad.

“The corresponding bank then transferred it America Express Bank Limited.”

He said the transfer was for the “funding for amount utilised on the payment cards issued to Saraki.”

He said the former Kwara State Governor transferred the total sum of £1,526,194.53 from his pounds sterling account to his Fortis Bank, London account in three instalments within two days on February 15 and 16, 2010.

He also said the GTB also offered a N375m loan to Saraki through a letter dated February 10, 2010.

According to the witness, Saraki instructed GTB to transfer the pounds sterling equivalent of the loan to fund mortage on a London property.
He said, “In Exhibit 7 is a letter dated February 10, 2010.

In the 14th out of the 16 counts preferred against the Senate President, Saraki was said to have failed to declare his interest in “an American Express Service Card with No: 374588216836009 wherein you (Saraki) transferred huges sums of money in dollars from your Guaranty Trust Bank domiciliary account No441441953210 in Nigeria to the American Express Service, Europe, whilst you Executive Governor of Kwara State.”

The offence is said to be contrary to section 15 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, CAP. C15, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and as incorporated under paragraph 11(1) and (2), Part I o the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution.

It is said to be punishable under section 23(2) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act as incorporated under paragraph 18, Part I of the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution.

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