Lagos Nigeria, February 08, 2017 (Naija247news) The Chief Admin Officer at the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, Samuel Madojemu, on Wednesday disclosed that the 2006 report of a presidential panel triggered off the investigation of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was the president in power as at 2006 when Saraki was first investigated by the presidential panel.
Testifying before the tribunal in the false asset declaration trial of Saraki, Madojemu said the report of the panel, which comprised officials of the DSS, CCB and EFCC, was scanty because it only covered the beginning of the first term of Saraki as governor of Kwara state.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government applied to amend the 16-count criminal charge pending against Saraki before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, in Abuja.
The Senate President, who was docked before the CCT on September 22, 2015, on a 13-count charge, was later re-arraigned on April 28, 2016, on an amended 16-count corruption charge.
He was alleged to have made false/anticipatory declaration of assets, operated foreign accounts while in office as Kwara State governor between 2003 and 2011, as well as collected governorship salary four years after his tenure had elapsed.
The Federal Government had earlier called two witnesses that testified against the defendant before the tribunal. Madojemu, who is the third prosecution witness, Pw-3, narrated how FG uncovered discrepancies in assets Saraki declared to the CCB.
He stated that the EFCC later went ahead to conduct a full investigation on Saraki based on the initial report, but it discovered that the allegations against him bordered on breach of the code of conduct for public officers.
He said the CCB had to review the EFCC report at the end of the investigation because the allegations against the Senate President fell within its purview.
Madojemu, who is the head of investigation Division under the Department of Intelligence, Investigation and Monitoring that joined EFCC, in probing Saraki’s assets, was led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs SAN.
When asked what he knows about the case, Madojemu said, “The EFCC conducted investigation on a particular case against the defendant. It was thereafter referred to the ministry of justice. The ministry discovered that the issues therein had to do with breach of code of asset declaration. It thereafter referred the case to the CCB.
“The chairman of the CCB directed me and two other persons, namely Samuel Yahaya and Peter Danladi to join the EFCC investigation team. When we joined the team, a review of the investigation was done by the CCB, the EFCC and other members of the team. In the course of the review, the team discovered that there was a previous report by a presidential investigation team set up in 2006 consisting of the CCB, the EFCC and the DSS to investigate the tenure of the defendant from 2003.
“It was that report which covered the beginning of tenure of the defendant. That report was what triggered the EFCC investigation. But the report was scanty, so a full investigation was later conducted.”
The witness was at the verge of revealing more alleged discrepancies in assets the Senate President declared, when head of the defence team, Chief Kanu Agabi SAN, drew attention of the tribunal to the amended charge against his client.
He said, “My lord I think we should at this juncture bring to your notice the fact that we were served with an amended charge this morning.
“You cannot proceed further in the matter until the defendant pleads to that amended charge.
“My lord the defendant is psychologically affected by this amended charge and is desirous to enter his plea.
“At this stage the defendant must plead to it before we proceed further on this matter. If it is not serious then the prosecution should withdraw it,” Agabi submitted.
In his response, Jacobs said he did not raise the issue so as not to disrupt proceeding of the day.
“My lord amendment can be done anytime even after their own defence, before judgment is delivered.
“Moreover we are not bringing anything new. The new charge is just the old wine in a new bottle,” Jacobs argued.