Thursday, 23 February 2017

[NG]‘Saraki wrong to earn double salaries as public officer’

An official of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), Samuel Madojemu on Thursday insisted that Senate President, Bukola Saraki was wrong to have earned monthly payments from the Kwara State governor at the same time when he was already elected to the Senate.

Madojemu, who is the Head, Intelligence Unit of the CCB was emphatic when he said:  “A public officer is not permitted to earn two salaries from public treasuries, using two government positions at the same time.”

The CCB official spoke while testifying as the third prosecution witness at the resumption of proceedings in Saraki’s trial before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on charges of false assets declaration.

Led in evidence by lead prosecution lawyer, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), Madojemu also said Saraki failed to declare, among others, his mortgage and the property he acquired through mortgage in London. He added that Saraki failed to declare his liability of about $3.4m in an America Express Card.

“Your lordship, a public officer who has a mortgage abroad is expected to declare the mortgage. Having fully paid the mortgage, the public officer is expected to declare the property in his asset declaration form. But the defendant did not declare any mortgage in London.
“He (Saraki) gave instruction to his banker, the GTB, to transfer £1,516,000 in two days to a bank in Fortis Bank for a mortgage in London. There was no declaration for the property in London.”

Madojemu also said the Senate President made a single deposit of N77m cash on September 5, 2007, when his monthly salary, as governor of Kwara State, was N254,412.25.

The witness, who read from a statement of Saraki’s account with the Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, said the N77m was deposited in the defendant’s account in one day.

“Your lordship, the cash lodgment deposited is not consonant with the income of the defendant as a governor. It cannot be attributable to his legitimate income. Your lordship, the defendant was earning 254,412.25 for a month.

“Within that same period, in one single day, as shown in the statement of account made available by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), there was lodgment of N77m in his account in one day.

“From Exhibit 15, the salary of governors as of August 12, 2007, was N254,412.25.”

On his role in the investigation of Saraki’s case, the witness said: “My role with reference to the exhibits mentioned already, was to compare the exhibits with the asset declaration forms of the defendants to see if there was any infraction with regards to his declarations.Those exhibits were sourced by EFCC officials in my team.”
Under cross-examination by the defence lawyer, Paul Erokoro (SAN), Madojemu was shown the contradiction in the number of Saraki’s asset declaration forms that the prosecution had tendered in court and the number of the forms which the CCB official had linked to Saraki in an affidavit.

While seven of Saraki’s declaration forms had been tendered before the CCT, Madojemu had stated in the affidavit that Saraki had only declared four.

When asked by the defence lawyer if four and seven were the same, the witness said no.

Responding to further questions, the witness confirmed that he had earlier stated that it was unlawful for a public officer to trade in rice and sugar commodities.

The witness said a public officer was permitted to own shares in companies, and when asked further, he said nothing stopped such public officers from owning shares in companies trading in rice and sugar.

He confirmed that he never met Saraki in person and never asked him if he had shares in any company trading in rice and sugar.

Madojemu said: “Public officer is allowed to own shares in a company. Nothing to my knowledge stops a public officer from owning controlling shares in a limited liability company. A public officer can be allowed to own controlling shares in a company that trades in rice and sugar.

“I did not ask the defendant whether he had shares in the company that traded rice and sugar. I did not find out if any of the companies in which the defendant owns share trades in rice and sugar. I have never seen the audited account of the defendant’s companies,” the witness said.

Earlier, Saraki was re-arraigned on an amended 18-count charge filed by the prosecution, t which he pleaded not guilty.

Saraki is, in the amended charge, accused of failing to make a written declaration of his “properties and assets”, that is, N77m paid into his account with Guaranty Trust Bank, GRA, Ilorin branch on September 5, 2007.

It was also alleged that the sum of N77m was “not fairly attributable” to Saraki’s “income, gifts or loan approved by the Code of Conduct for Public Officers”.

Further hearing in the case is adjourned to March 2.

source:TheNation

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