The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has accused Bukola Saraki, the immediate past Senate President, of diverting N12 billion from the Kwara State treasury between 2003 to 2011.
According to the anti-graft agency in a counter-affidavit to Saraki’s originating motion before the Federal High Court, Abuja, the former governor of Kwara State, during his time in office, used part of the money to settle a N1.36 billion bank loan he used in purchasing homes located at 15, 15A, 17, 17A and four flats on Macdonald Road, Ikoyi, Lagos.
Saraki had in the suit, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/507/2019, approached the court seeking for the enforcement of his fundamental rights due to the decision of the EFCC to seize his houses in Lagos State.
The EFCC, in its counter-affidavit deposed on its behalf by Ojilibo Stanley, said it decided to seize the properties belonging to Saraki because the monies used to purchase them were obtained fraudulently.
The commission alleged that Saraki began to divert the sum of N100 million from the Kwara treasury monthly to re-pay the loans he obtained from Guaranty Trust Bank and Intercontinental Bank (now Access Bank) between 2005 and 2006.
The affidavit noted that shortly after the Presidential Implementation Committee on the sale of Federal Government Landed Properties confirmed via a letter the approval of the sale of properties at 15 and 17 Macdonald Road, Ikoyi, Saraki wrote to GTB seeking to obtain loans to finance its purchase.
Following a series of letters, GTB granted the loan requests of N200 million on March 24, 2005; N380 million on October 11, 2006; another N380 million on January 30, 2007; and N400 million on April 28, 2009, to the former Kwara governor, according to the anti-graft agency.
The affidavit read: “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“While the applicant was the governor of Kwara State, the total sum of N12bn was withdrawn in cash from the Kwara State Government House’s account domiciled in Zenith Bank.”
The EFCC, therefore, urged Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, to set aside the ex parte order preventing it from investigating and prosecuting Saraki.
The court had in May granted a temporary order restraining the EFCC, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and four others from probing Saraki.
The other parties restrained by the court order includes the Department of State Services (DSS); the office of the Attorney General of the Federation; Mohammed Adamu, Inspector General of Police; and the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
The case has been adjourned till July 2, 2019.