Sunday, October 25, 2020

Nigeria: Anti-Graft Agency Speaks On ‘Saraki’s’ Marked Lagos Property

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it is not aware of the report it has marked some properties allegedly belonging to Senate President Bukola Saraki in Lagos.

According to the report by PUNCH on Sunday, the houses are located at 15a, 15b and 17 MacDonald Road, Ikoyi area of the state.

The report said the commission decided to place inscriptions ‘EFCC, Under Investigation’ in red on the walls and the fences of the houses that they believe Mr Saraki purchased from the Presidential Implementation Committee for the Sale of Government Property through shell companies.

However, the marked houses have been the subject of Mr Saraki’s arraignment at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), which he won in 2017.

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The EFCC spokesperson, Toni Orilade, told PREMIUM TIMES that he was not aware of the marking of the properties belonging to Mr Saraki.

“I am not aware of the marking, when I get information in respect thereof, I shall communicate with you immediately,” he said.

But Mr Saraki, in a statement by his media aide, Yusuph Olaniyonu, on Sunday, said the agency was only investigating what it had once probed.

Mr Saraki tagged the agency as being ‘mischievous.’

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“Our attention has been drawn to the fact that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has marked certain property belonging to Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, obviously under the claim that they are subject of investigation.

More: Nigeria: EFCC launches corruption investigation against Senate President Saraki

“The action of the EFCC only reinforced our earlier stated position that their current investigation is mischievous, contrary to the tenets of the rule of law and only aimed at settling scores. This position is founded on the fact that these same buildings were the subject of earlier investigations by the EFCC as well as the case initiated by the Federal Government at the Code of Conduct Tribunal. Also, the case went all the way to the highest court in our country, the Supreme Court of Nigeria. In that case, Dr. Saraki was discharged and acquitted because the courts believe the government has no case,” the short statement reads.

Recent probe

The recent effort by EFCC to probe Mr Saraki started when the agency wrote a letter to the Kwara State Government demanding a breakdown of Mr Saraki’s income, as well as his entitlements as governor of the state.

The anti-graft agency said it is investigating Mr Saraki for an alleged case of conspiracy, abuse of office, misappropriation of public funds, theft, and money-laundering.

Before being elected to the Senate in 2011, Mr Saraki was the governor of Kwara State between 2003 and 2011.




In reaction, Mr Saraki had in a statement on Wednesday described recent moves to probe him as politically-motivated and a witch-hunt.

Mr Saraki said the anti-graft agency was only investigating matters that were already settled. The EFCC in its reply on Wednesday said the investigation of Mr Saraki is “driven by overarching public interest and due process of the law.”

The anti-graft agency also urged the former Kwara state governor not to be shaken “so long as he has no skeletons in his cupboard.

“The commission has a sacred mandate to rid the country of corruption and corrupt elements and restates its unflinching resolve to achieve these, no matter whose ox is gored,” the statement partly reads.

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Mr Saraki, a leader of the main opposition party, PDP, left office as Kwara governor in 2011.

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