Dr. Bukola Saraki, Ex-President of Senate

How ex-Senate President bought properties with Kwara’s funds ─EFCC

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

In the continued prosecution, Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has informed a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos that Dr. Bukola Saraki, an erstwhile President of the Senate, diverted the Kwara State Government funds for personal use.

It was gathered the EFCC disclosed Dr. Saraki, while serving as elected governor of Kwara State misappropriated taxpayers’ money to offset personal loans he obtained from GTBank Plc for the purchase of two properties in Lagos State.

Olamide Sadik, an Investigating Officer with the anti-graft agency, made the allegation when he testified Wednesday, November 25, 2020, in a suit filed by the Commission.

Through the suit, the EFCC is seeking to seize and forfeit to the Government two properties belonging to Saraki, situated at 17 & ‪17A, McDonald Road, Ikoyi, in Lagos.

Sadik told the court that Justice Mohammed Liman of the Federal High Court, that sometime in 2009 his boss, who was the Zonal Head for the EFCC, Ilorin Zone, had asked him to join an ongoing investigation of some properties linked to the former Senate President, who was then the governor of Kwara State.

According to the EFCC investigator, he commenced the investigation by inviting Bayo Abdulrahaman Daudu, an employee of the GTBank, to produce Saraki’s statement of account.

Report said the witness testified that in the course of his interaction with Dauda, he recovered an offer letter for loans obtained by Saraki for the purchase of the two properties from the Presidential Committee for the sales of Government Properties.

Sadik stated there was evidence that the loans were disbursed by the bank on behalf of Saraki to the Presidential Committee for Sales of Government Properties through bank drafts.

The Investigating Officer as well claimed that he interrogated Hafeez Yusuf, a cashier with the Government House, “who was persistently withdrawing money from the Kwara State Government House account with Access Bank Plc.”

From his investigation and interaction with Yusuf, Sadik disclosed that he discovered that certain Abdul Adama, a domestic servant to Saraki “usually and constantly withdrew cash from the government and paid same to Saraki’s account with GTBank, and the same government funds was then used to repay the loan obtained from GTBank.

The investigator said: “EFCC investigation also revealed that Adama was collecting an average of N100 million monthly and depositing same into Saraki’s personal account which was eventually used to repay the loans obtained from GTB to purchase the properties in Lagos.”

To beat the Anti-Money Laundering Act, the money was deliberately being structured, and that led the bank to write the Financial Intelligent Unit (FIU) to complain about the way the money was being paid into the account at the time.

Sadik further stated: “The summary of our investigation is that Dr. Bukola Saraki obtained loans from GTB to buy the properties, but repaid the loans from money being collected by Abdul Adama, his domestic aide, and other unidentified people.”

Before Sadik’s testimony, the Chief Accountant at the Kwara State Government House, Hafis Yusuf had told the court that he gave monies to Abdul Adama on the instruction of his boss, Isiaka Kareem, a former Controller of Account and Finance.

However, Kehinde Ogunwomiju (SAN), Saraki’s counsel, in his cross-examination said the two witnesses told the court that they did not have any interface with the former Senate President.

Sadik specifically said that he did not investigate the Kwara State budget neither did he know what the money was used for.

Following the EFCC oral evidence as ordered by the court, Ogunwomiju informed the court that he relied on the evidence of the anti-graft agency as their defence in the suit.

Meanwhile, Justice Liman reportedly refused an application by the EFCC seeking to subpoena one of Saraki’s allies, Kennedy Izuagbe, to give evidence as to the affidavit he deposed to in response to the suit.

The judge has also adjourned till December 16, 2020, for the adoption of parties’ final written addresses in the suit.

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