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Saturday, March 19, 2016

‘’He Took Public Funds, Running Into Billions From Kwara State Government And Lodged Same In Several Tranches And In Cash Into His GTB Account’’ & Other Weighty Corruption Allegations Against Senate President Bukola Saraki By Code of Conduct Tribunal

The Code of Conduct Bureau on Friday alleged that the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, moved funds belonging to Kwara State into his personal account while he was governor of the state.

The allegation is contained in a counter affidavit deposed to by the bureau in response to a fresh application Mr. Saraki filed challenging the jurisdiction of the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

The tribunal is trying him for alleged false asset declaration and corruption while in office as governor between 2003 and 2011.

He was arraigned last September on a 13-count charge but he denied them all, saying he was being persecuted.

When the matter came up for hearing on March 18, Kanu Agabi, SAN, the new counsel to the senate president contested afresh the jurisdiction of the tribunal.

The tribunal therefore adjourned the matter to March 18 and consequently fixed March 24 to rule on the application.

Peter Danladi, who deposed to the affidavit, said the CCB, in conjunction with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, and the State Security Service, investigated various petitions on allegation of corruption, theft, money laundering, among other offences, against the senate president in 2010.

He said the EFCC conducted its investigation and found that Mr. Saraki not only abused his office as governor but was also involved in acts of corruption.

He also stated that the senate president borrowed billions of naira from commercial banks, including the Guarantee Trust Bank.

Mr. Danladi said the senate president used the money he got from the banks to acquire landed property in Lagos, Abuja and London.

He said, “As against the defendant using his own legitimate income to defray the loan, he took public funds, running into billions from Kwara State Government and lodged same in several tranches and in cash into his GTB account I GRA (Government Reservation Area), Ilorin, Kwara State.

“The defendant/applicant’s account officer in GTB confirmed that the defendant/applicant gave him several cash in Government House to lodge into the account and in some occasions, the defendant sent his aides from Government House to give him the cash for lodgement into his account.”

Mr. Danladi explained that when the EFCC submitted its report to its legal department and the Federal Ministry of Justice, the ministry concluded that the offences revealed from the investigation, particularly as they relate to the property acquired by Mr. Saraki while he was governor of Kwara State, and various monies sent into his various accounts outside Nigeria, could be better handled through the CCB and the 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,” he said.

He said the CCB investigation on its Assets Declaration Forms for public officers Mr. Saraki filed revealed the following:

“The landed property listed as No: 42 Gerald Road, Ikoyi was visited by Mr. Ikechi Iwuagwu (Deputy Director, CCB), Miss. Geraldine Longsten (DSS) and Adamu Garba (EFCC) sometime in 2006 and discovered that the property was under construction;

“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;

“Contrary to the declaration by the defendant that he owned 15A and 15B Mcdonald, Ikoyi, Lagos as at the time of the declaration in 2003 our investigation revealed that the said property were acquaired in 2006 from the implementation committee on Federal Government Landed properties through his companies called Tiny Tee Limited and Vitti Oil Limited wherein he paid the sum of N396, 150,000 to the federal Government of Nigeria;

“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;
“The defendant bided for and acquired 17, 17A and 17B Mcdonald, Ikoyi, Lagos from the Implementation Committee on Federal government Landed Property and paid an aggregate sum of N497, 200,000 to the Federal Government between October 2006 and 2007;

“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; and

“While the Federal Government was selling its property, the Centarl Bank of Nigeria, being an agency of the Federal Government sold plot 2A, Glover Road, Ikoyi, Lagos for N325,000,000 between 2007 and 2008 to the defendant, which the defendant purchased through his company called Carlisle Properties when he was the governor of Kwara State.”

Mr. Danladi said further investigation by the CCB revealed that Mr. Saraki also acquired a property at Plot #&A  Glover Road, Ikoyi, Lagos through Carlisle Properties Limited while he was governor and had been receiving rent form the property.

According to him, investigation on the asset declaration forms submitted by the senate president between 2003 and 2011, revealed that he failed to declare his interest in Plot 2A Golver Road, Ikoyi, Lagos (in his 2011 asset declaration form); No: 1 Targus Street, Maitama, Abuja otherwise known as 2482Cadastral Zone A06, which he claimed he acquired in November 1996 from one David Baba Akawu (in his assets declaration form of 2003).

Mr. Saraki was also alleged to have failed to declare the property on No: 3 Targus Street, Maitama, Abuja otherwise known as 2481 Cadastral Zone A06, Abuja, as his own.

He was said to have acquired it from one Alhaji Attahiru Adamu in his asset declaration form (of June 3, 2011.) and No 42 Remi Fani-Kayode Street, Ikeja Lagos, which he acquired through his company, Skyview Properties Limited from First Finance Trust Limited on December 12, 1996.

Mr. Danladi stated further, “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.”

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