An official of Guarantee Trust Bank, Nwachukwu Amazu, yesterday openly revealed to the Code of Conduct Tribunal how the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki made several fund transfers from his United States Dollars account and British Pounds Sterling account domicile in GTB to foreign banks.
Amazu, Head of Funds Transfer Unit, GTB was testifying as 2nd prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of Saraki over false assets declaration and money laundering charges.
Upon examination by the prosecutor, Rotimi Jacob, the witness admitted knowing Saraki.
“I know Dr Bukola Saraki as a customer of GTB; he has domiciliary accounts with the bank, a United States Dollars and Pounds Sterling accounts. These accounts are domiciled in Illorin branch of GTB.
“Also, Saraki has a Naira account “ the witness told the court.
He admitted that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had written his bank requesting for details of Saraki’s foreign accounts.
“We did transfer for Saraki in United States Dollars and Pounds Sterling from his account domiciled with us to offshore bank.
To effect the transfer, “a Foreign Funds Transfer Form of GTB was issued to Saraki and filled it with his address bearing Kwara State Government House Illorin.
“He gave GTB instructions to transfer 73,223.28 United States Dollars to beneficiary American Express Services Euro Ltd through their bank, American Express Bank of New York with account number 730580, maintained by America Express Services Euro Ltd maintained by American Express bank.
The purpose of the transfer, the prosecution witness said, was “funding for amounts utilised on the AMEX Card (a US Dollar Credit Card) issued to the defendant (Saraki) with number 374588216836009”.
Amazu said Saraki had instructed that the sum be deducted from his dollars account with number 441/441953/2/110; he signed the funds transfer form, and we did verification.
“After debiting the sum, we transferred the amount to the correspondent bank abroad (City Bank of New York) and then, in turn they transferred to beneficiary bank, in this case, American Express Bank of New York.
“We did several other foreign transfers for Saraki” the witness told the court.
However, Amazu disclosed that some of the funds transfer documents could not be handed over to the anti graft agency due to an inferno that destroyed all documents in the foreign operations unit of the bank in December 2011.
But on the aggregate, he stated that “Between 2009 and 2012, we transferred above $3million USD to American Express Bank” the witness revealed.
Furthermore, Amazu told the tribunal that “Apart from the dollar transfers, we also made transfer from Saraki’s Pounds Sterling account to offshore account”.
In 2010, the prosecution witness said GTB on the instructions of Saraki, made three transfers from his Pounds Sterling account to offshore account.
“On February 15, 2010, Saraki instructed us to transfer the sum of £761,904.76 British pounds from his Pounds Sterling account with GTB, to account number 37377901 with Fortis Bank London.
On 15 February 2010, the sum of £632,511.7 pounds was transferred from Saraki’s Pounds Sterling account into Fortis Bank London just as another £121,778.70 pounds was transferred on the 16 of February 2010, into the same Fortis Bank London, the witness stated.
In the same February 2010, the witness told the tribunal that Saraki wrote a letter to GTB requesting for “offer of banking facility” to the tune of N375 million.
The GTB official told the tribunal that the loan was meant “for the purchase of a property in London”.
Amazu said Saraki instructed that transfer be made for “mortgage redemption” of the property.
“The 1st transfer was for mortgage redemption and part payment.
“The 2nd transfer was part payment of mortgage redemption and the total amount to be paid with the remittance was £1394415.83 British pounds.
“The 3rd transfer was full and final payment for mortgage redemption and the remittance was £1,516194.53 pounds.
“The three transfers were done on February 15 and 16, 2010” the witness stated.
However, upon cross examination by Saraki’s lawyer, Paul Usoro, Amazu said that AMEX Ltd, Operators of Saraki’s Foreign Card was not a bank
The witness also rubbished attempt by the prosecutor to link Saraki with series of foreign transfers as he said that he knew nothing about the alleged foreign accounts transactions by the defendant when he was the Executive Governor of Kwara State.
The witness said that he was given the documents he read at the tribunal by the prosecution and not that he has knowledge of the alleged transactions.