KWARA, Nigeria – The trial of Ope Saraki, ex-Senior Special Assistant to Kwara State Governor on Millenium Development Goals (MDGs), commenced on Thursday.
The prosecution called its star witness, Kunle Adimula, who testified before Justice Babangana Ashigar of the Federal High Court, Ilorin.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had on March 24, 2020 arraigned Saraki for alleged money laundering.
The cousin of former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, allegedly collected a sum of N11,180,000 for some projects under the MDGs.
The sum exceeded the contract amount payable to an individual and contravened Section 1 and 16 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 16 of the same Act.
Adimula narrated how the defendant received N11,180,000 cash in 2019.
“My Lord, I am an employee of the Kwara State Government. I was deployed to the office of the SSA on Millenium Development Goals (MDGs), Alhaji Ope Saraki. I have known him since 2012. On the 8th of February 2019, he instructed me to collect the sum of N11,180,000 from the Controller of Finance and Accounts, Ministry of Planning, Mr. Shiru Mohammed and hand over the same to him. The instruction was complied with almost immediately”, he said.
Adimula, led in evidence by EFCC counsel, Sesan Ola, recalled that he was issued a receipt after he handed over the money to the defendant, which he gave to the CFA.
A copy of the receipt was shown to the witness which he identified and tendered as evidence by the prosecuting counsel.
The document was admitted as Exhibit EFCC 1; its admissibility was not opposed by the defence counsel, Joshua Olatoke (SAN).
When asked whether he was aware that the project was budgeted for and approved by the Kwara State House of Assembly, Adimula said it was not within his purview to know.
The case has been adjourned until January 13, 2021.