Contract money paid to Saraki's cousin not bribe - Contractor
THE trial of a former special assistant to the Kwara State governor on Millennium Development Goals, Ope Saraki, resumed on Tuesday with the third prosecution witness, Dr Adeyeye Abiodun, revealing how the defendant introduced him to Chemiroy Nigeria Limited.
The witness also apoke on how both agreed to refurbish 13 Toyota Hiace buses and converted them to ambulances.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ilorin zonal office, is prosecuting Saraki on two counts bordering on contract scam before Justice Adenike Akinpelu of the Kwara State High Court sitting in Ilorin.
Saraki, a cousin to the former Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, is being prosecuted by the EFCC for allegedly procuring a contract to the tune of N220m through Chemiroy Nigeria Limited, a company in which he had interest.
The contract involved the purchase of 13 units of ambulances for General/Specialist Hospitals in Kwara State.
The offence, according to the prosecution, is contrary to Section 12 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences, ICPC, Act, 2000.
At the resumed hearing of the case on Tuesday, Adeyeye while being led in evidence by counsel to the EFCC, Sesan Ola, narrated how the job was executed and delivered to Chemiroy Nigeria Limited.
Adeyeye said, "My Lord, I know the defendant. His name is Mr. Ope Saraki. My company bid for a contract for purchase and supply of 13 ambulances for the Kwara State Government, but was later awarded to a company called Chemiroy Nigeria Limited after I had submitted all relevant documents and participated in the bidding process.
"I expressed my disappointment in Mr. Ope Saraki, who happened to be my friend since our university days. The defendant later introduced me to Chemiroy Nigeria Limited and we both agreed that I should equip the 13 purchased Toyota Hiace and convert it to ambulances.
"We agreed to equip one at the sum of N3m. At a point, funds stopped coming from Chemiroy, I now approached Mr Saraki for loan. We finished the job and delivered to Chemiroy. We paid back the loan. While some were paid through bank transfer, some were paid to the defendant in cash."
Under cross-examination by Sarakiís counsel, Sulyman Abaya, the witness admitted paying money to the politician, but said ďthe money was never a bribe or gratification."
Justice Akinpelu adjourned the case till September 23, 2021 for continuation of hearing.