I Didn’t Make Any Payment To Saraki -Ex- Controller of Finance

I Didn’t Make Any Payment To Saraki -Ex- Controller of Finance

A former Controller, Finance and Account, at the Kwara State Government House, Isiaka Kareem, yesterday testified in a suit filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before a Lagos Federal High Court, seeking to forfeit two Lagos property of a former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, to the Federal Government. 

Isiaka in his testimony before Justice Muhammad Liman led-court, said that the monthly payments made to one, Abdul Adama, an aide to Saraki, was provided for in the budget of Kwara State while the former governor was at the helm of affairs in the state. 

The retired civil servant who is now a farmer, while being cross-examined
by Kehinde Ogunwumiji (SAN), lawyer to the former Senate President, said as an accountant, he was familiar with the State’s budget and that he knew there were provisions for ‘security and contingency’, the headings under which the monthly payments were made to Adama. He added that there was no time he made any complaint to anyone about the monthly payments he made to Adama. 

Isiaka, who said he was in the civil service for more than 30 years said while working in Government House, he neither had any personal relationship with Saraki nor knew anything about his property and the source of acquiring them. 

When he was questioned by Ogunwumiju on the statement he made to the EFCC, the witness clarified that it was not every month that he paid N100 million to Adama. 

On this issue, he said: “The allocation to Government House was not static. It was less than N100 million when we started and it kept increasing overtime. That was why I said it was not N100 million every month”.

The witness had earlier in his examination-in-chief by the EFCC’s lawyer, Nnemeka Omewa, told the court that Abdul Adama was introduced to him by Saraki as his personal assistant. Adding the the former governor also instructed him to pay funds captured under ‘security and contingency’ to Adama. 

He said: “Every month, when monthly allocations are disbursed, Adama will come to collect funds designated as ‘security and contingency’. In my office, we designated a form for everyone that collect funds and Adama signed the form every month for the funds he collected from my office. The funds were collected between 2003 when I resumed until the governor left in 2011”. 

Further hearing in the matter has been adjourned to 25th November, 2020. 

It would be recalled that Justice Liman had on June 8, 2020, ordered the anti-graft agency to bring more evidence in support of its suit against Saraki. 

Justice Liman while ruling on EFCC’s motion for final forfeiture of the properties, stated that while the anti-graft agency had made “a strong showing of strange transactions” through Saraki’s statement of bank account exhibited in court, it needed to call witnesses to prove that the funds deployed to acquire the houses were proceeds of fraud.