My story of how I gave N11.18m to Saraki, witness tells court

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Drama on Thursday in Federal High Court in Ilorin, Kwara State, as a prosecution witness, Kunle Adimula, disclosed how he gave former Senior Special Assistant to Kwara State governor on Millennium Development Goals, Alhaji Ope Saraki, N11.18 million.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) accused Saraki, a cousin to the immediate past president of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, of allegedly collecting the money meant to execute some projects under the MDGs, a sum which exceeded the cash payable to an individual.

The commission said that the offence was contrary to Section 1 and 16 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 16 of the same Act.

On March 24, 2020, the commission’s Ilorin zonal office arraigned Saraki on one count charge bordering on money laundering before Justice Babangana Ashigar of the Federal High Court sitting in Ilorin.

The charge reads: “That you, Ope Saraki, sometime in February 2019, whilst being the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Kwara State on Sustainable Development Goals at Ilorin within the jurisdiction of this honourable Court, did receive cash payment of N11,180,000.00 (Eleven Million, One Hundred and Eighty Thousand Naira) from one Kunle Adimula, an employee of Kwara State Government, which sum exceeded the cash payable to an individual and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 and 16 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 16 of the same Act.”

At the commencement of the trial on Thursday, Adimula, the prosecution’s star witness, narrated how the defendant received the fund cash sometime in 2019.

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“My Lord, I am an employee of the Kwara State Government. I was deployed to the office of the Senior Special Assistant to the Kwara State Governor on Millenium Development Goals (MDGs), Alhaji Ope Saraki. I have known him since year 2012.

“On the 8th of February 2019, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on MDGs, in person of Alhaji Ope Saraki instructed me to collect the sum of N11,180,000 (eleven million, one hundred and eighty thousand naira only) from the Controller of Finance and Accounts, CFA, Ministry of Planning, Mr. Shiru Mohammed and hand over same to the defendant. The instruction was complied with almost immediately”, he said.

Adimula who was led in evidence by counsel to the EFCC, Sesan Ola, further told the court that he was issued a receipt after he handed over the money to the defendant, which he gave to the CFA, Mr. Muhammed.

Under cross-examination by the defence, Adimula insisted that he acted strictly on instruction by collecting the money and handed over the same to the defendant.

The case has been adjourned till January 13, 2021 for continuation of trial.

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