Ope Saraki in court on Thursday

A star witness for the prosecution in the trial of Alhaji Ope Saraki, has told a Federal High Court in Ilorin how he gave him N11.18million.

The witness Kunle Adimula was giving evidence at the continuation of the trial.

Ope Saraki was a Senior Special Assistant, SSA, to former Kwara State governor on Millenium Development Goals, MDGs.

The witness said the money given to Saraki on 19 February, 2019, was meant to execute some projects under the MDGs.

The EFCC Ilorin Zonal Office charged Ope Saraki to court because the money was beyond the threshold any individual could handle.

EFCC contends it violates Section 1 and 16 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended) and is punishable under Section 16 of the same Act.

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The trial is before Justice Babangana Ashigar of the Federal High Court, Ilorin.

Adimula told the court:

“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.

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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.

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 in evidence as Exhibit EFCC 1 as its admissibility was not opposed to by the defence counsel led by Dr. Joshua Olatoke, SAN.

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.

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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, but to ensure that instructions given by his boss were complied with.

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