Nigeria’s powerful anti-corruption agency has reportedly made another fresh move to uncover how the outgoing Senate President Bukola Saraki managed the resources of Kwara State when he was a governor.
According to THISDAY, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is digging into the past of Saraki as Kwara governor between 2003 to 2011.
The latest move by the EFCC comes a few days after the International Human Rights Commission (IHRC) announced the appointment of Saraki as its “Ambassador-at-Large”.
The next move by EFCC according to THISDAY, is aimed to probing all salaries, allowances, estacodes, and payments he received as governor from 2003 to 20011.
Bukola fell out with the ruling APC ahead of presidential primaries conducted in 2018. This probe is coming eight years after Saraki left office as governor of Kwara State.
EFCC was said to have sent a letter to the state government, through the Permanent Secretary, Government House, dated April 26, and titled, “Investigation Activities: Dr. Bukola Saraki.”
The anti-graft agency claimed in the letter that it was investigating an alleged case of conspiracy, abuse of office, misappropriation of public funds, theft, and money laundering involving Saraki.
“In view of the above, you are kindly requested to furnish us with the full details of all his entitlements to include but not limited to emoluments, allowances, estacodes, other fringe benefits and severance package while he held sway as the Executive Governor of Kwara State between 2003 and 2011.
“This request is made pursuant to Section 38 (1) & (2) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, 2004 and Section 21 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act” letter signed by EFCC Zonal Head, Isyaku Sharu, stated.
Saraki’s admirers say it’s a move by APC to rubbish the Senate president before the international community.
They also believe that he is the one singled out for such a probe among those that held office as governor in that period.
Recalled that Saraki had been investigated by the Code of Conduct Tribunal before now and was subsequently cleared by the tribunal and the Supreme Court.
A stakeholder in the state was quoted as saying, “To think he is the only one who has been singled out for this kind of investigation, more so that we have probed further to check if that kind of letter was sent to anyone else and our checks revealed that he was the only one sent the letter except, of course, they just issued another one today. This, obviously, is a needless persecution and must be condemned by all”.
His trial by Supreme Court
In June 2018, the Supreme Court cleared Saraki of all allegations of false asset declaration, after the federal government filed 18 counts of false and anticipatory asset declaration charges against him in 2015.
Although all the counts collapsed at the Code of Conduct Tribunal in 2017, the government appealed the ruling, culminating in a judgement by the Supreme Court. But the Court of Appeal had earlier upheld all but three of the charges and returned them to the tribunal for retrial.
Saraki’s legal team contested the verdict of the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal at the Supreme Court, insisting he had no case to answer.
In its verdict, the Supreme Court said the Court of Appeal panel engaged in “forensic somersault” when it held that Saraki should answer three of the charges.
Buhari’s way to punish Saraki
Some of his admirers described the latest probe as a move by President Muhammadu Buhari to punish Saraki, who was seen a stumbling block to the APC’s agenda in the National Assembly.
A politician who doesn’t want to be named said, “Isn’t it curious that the EFCC wants to look at legitimate earnings like salaries, including condescending to the level of probing the estacodes and other emoluments as governor? Is the anti-graft body not a political tool already?”
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