Friday, October 23, 2020

Nigeria: EFCC accuses ex-Senate President, Saraki of diverting N12bn from State treasury


The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has reportedly accused the immediate past Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki for allegedly withdrawing N12bn from Kwara state treasury.

Saraki was said to have withdrawn the money when he was governor of the state between 2003 and 2011.

According to Punch, the money was allegedly used to offset a N1.36bn bank loan he used in purchasing homes located at 15, 15A, 17, 17A and four flats on Macdonald Road, Ikoyi, Lagos.

This according to Punch was the reason the EFCC seized Saraki’s properties in Ikoyi, Lagos.

The anti-graft agency has therefore asked Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja to rescind the ex parte order that prevents the EFCC from investigating and prosecuting the former Senate President.

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The EFCC said this on Thursday, June 27, 2019, in a counter affidavit to Saraki’s originating motion with suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/507/2019.

In the counter affidavit, the EFCC states that a case of money laundering, criminal breach of trust and conspiracy by the immediate past Senate President has been established.

The agency said the former Senate President took loans worth N1.36bn from the Guaranty Trust Bank and Intercontinental Bank (now Access Bank) through his companies between 2005 and 2006.

And in order to offset the loan, Saraki was said to have diverted N100m from Kwara state treasury every month.

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In February 2004, the Presidential Implementation Committee on the sale of Federal Government Landed Properties reportedly wrote a letter to Saraki informing him about the approval of then-Minister of Lands and Housing for the sale of properties at 15 and 17 Macdonald Road, Ikoyi.

Following the letter to Saraki, the former governor of Kwara state reportedly on March 8, 2005, wrote to Guaranty Trust Bank requesting a N200m loan to finance the acquisition of the properties.

The bank subsequently granted the loan to partly finance the purchase of the properties, Punch reports.

Again, on October 11, 2006, the EFCC in the counter affidavit stated that another personal loan of N380m was granted to Saraki by GTB to partly finance the acquisition of properties located at 17 and 17A Macdonald Road, Ikoyi.

The EFCC further said that GTB granted another personal loan of N380m to Saraki to partly finance the same properties.

On April 28, 2009, Saraki was said to have obtained another personal loan of N400m to develop the same properties.

The affidavit reads in part: “The personal loans used to acquire the properties were later liquidated with the proceeds of the applicant’s (Saraki’s) criminal breach of trust or misappropriation of funds of the Kwara State Government.

“The applicant (Saraki) procured one Abdul Adama who was his personal member of staff to receive cash from then-Controller of Finance and Account of Government House, Kwara State, Mr Isiaka Kareem, on a monthly basis, the sum of N100m.

“While the applicant was the governor of Kwara State, the total sum of N12bn was withdrawn in cash from the Kwara State Government House’s account domiciled in Zenith Bank.”

However, the EFCC the fresh investigation of Saraki was different from the ones related to the one conducted by the Code of Conduct Bureau, adding that the agency is not being controlled by the All Progressives Congress to witch-haunt the former Senate President.

Meanwhile, Saraki in his affidavit earlier said the acting EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, was on a revenge mission because he played a role in blocking his confirmation as EFCC chairman.

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“Apart from the instigation by my political adversaries, my close contacts have confirmed to me that the 4th respondent (EFCC) renewed its harassment as a way of punishing me for the decision of the Senate not to clear acting chairman of the EFCC, Alhaji Ibrahim Magu, to be appointed as the substantive chairman of the commission.

He also alleged that he was being hounded by the anti-graft body because he emerged as the President of the Senate against the wishes of certain elements in the APC in 2015, adding that he was already a successful businessman before becoming governor in 2003 and therefore asked the court to rule that his probe was a breach of his fundamental human rights, Punch reports.

The case has been adjourned till July 2, 2019.


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