EFCC exposes Saraki’s top secret

By Post Nigeria March 18, 2016 12:56

EFCC exposes Saraki’s top secret

The Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, has fixed March 24, for ruling on a motion filed by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, seeking to quash the charges of false assets declaration preferred against him.

The Danladi Umar-led tribunal fixed the date for ruling after entertaining arguments for and against the motion.

The Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in a joint response to claims by Saraki that his trial before the tribunal was a mere persecution and witch-hunt, gave details of how Saraki allegedly acquired properties in Lagos, Abuja and London, using Kwara State’s funds.

The agencies also gave details of how Saraki allegedly siphoned Kwara state’s funds, using his link with a commercial bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, GTB, Plc into his foreign account, and with which he procured property in London.

The joint response is contained in the counter-affidavit filed by the prosecution in the trial of Saraki on charges of false assets declaration.

An official of the CCB, Peter Danladi, stated in the counter affidavit, that the investigation of the various petitions of corruption, theft, money laundering, among others, against Saraki in 2010, was conducted jointly by officials of the EFCC, CCB and the Department of State Security, DSS.

“The EFCC conducted its investigation on the various petitions and made findings which showed that the defendant/applicant abused his office while he was the governor of Kwara State and was involved in various acts of corruption as the governor of the state.

“The defendant/applicant borrowed huge sums of money running into billions from commercial banks, particularly Guarantee Trust Bank and used the proceeds of the loan to acquire several landed properties in Lagos, Abuja and London, while he was the governor of Kwara State.

“When the EFCC submitted its report to its legal department and the Federal Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Justice formed the opinion that the offences revealed from the investigation, particularly as they relate to the property acquired by the defendant/applicant while he was governor of Kwara State and various moneys sent into his various accounts outside Nigeria can be better handled through the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

“The office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), then sends the findings and the evidence gathered during investigation by the EFCC as a complaint to the Code of Conduct Bureau for investigation and that the operatives of the EFCC would collaborate with the officers of the CCB for effective investigation.

“Contrary to the declaration by the defendant that he was earning an annual income of N110, 000,000 from No: 42 Gerald Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, there were no tenants in the property as same was an empty land as at the time of the declaration.

“The defendant made an anticipatory declaration for the said 15A and 15B, Ikoyi, Lagos. The defendant acquired the property in the name of two companies, because he could not buy two Federal government property in his personal name.

“A scrutiny of the defendant’s salary account with the Intercontinental Bank (now Access Bank) of account No: 0100857813 reveals that his monthly take home salary as at the time he acquired the property was not more than N500, 000 and the defendant acquired property far in excess of his income, Danladi said.

“The defendant has a domiciliary account with GTB Plc in Nigeria with account No: 441441953210 from where he made various cash transfers totalling 3.4million US dollar between 2009 and 2012, to American Express Service Europe Limited with account No: 730580 maintained with the American Express bank, New York and the various sums were transferred into the defendant’s card account No: 374588216836009 maintained by the defendant outside Nigeria.

“Sometime in February 2010, the defendant obtained a loan of N375, 000,000 from GTB Plc in Nigeria, which he converted into 1,516,194.53 pounds sterling and gave instructions to the bank to transfer the entire sum to the United Kingdom in favour of Forts Bank SA/NV the purpose of which the defendant stated to be the full and final payment of mortgage redemption for the property he purchased in London,” Danladi added.

Saraki’s lawyer, Chief Kanu Agabi, argued that the tribunal lacked jurisdiction to entertain the charges, among other grounds, that the Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, and Minister of Justice lacked the power to file charges before the tribunal.

He also argued that the failure of the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, to invite Saraki to confront him with the breaches in his assets declaration form was fatal to the validity of the charges.

However, the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, urged the tribunal to dismiss the motion, as it constituted an abuse of court process.

He described the motion as absurd and ridiculous on the basis that Saraki had initially in a similar motion argued up to the Supreme Court level, contended that the charges were incompetent for being filed at a time the office of the AGF was vacant.

The Supreme Court in its judgment on Saraki’s earlier objection to the trial, affirmed the validity of the charges and the jurisdiction of the tribunal.

Saraki was represented by 80 lawyers at the Friday’s proceedings, while the prosecution was represented by only 10 lawyers.

Related: Saraki gets soft landing from CCT