How Saraki ‘looted’ Kwara state treasury in 8 years

Bukola Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal | YNaija.com

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), on Friday, gave details of how embattled Senate President Bukola Saraki looted funds from Kwara State while he served as governor of the state from 2003 to 2011.

Saraki, who is currently being prosecuted by the CCB for false declaration of assets, is said to have acquired properties in Abuja, Lagos and London, using money allegedly stolen from Kwara state treasury.

This information was contained in a counter affidavit by an official of the CCB, Peter Danladi.

The affidavit challenged Saraki’s assertion that his trial was politically motivated and that the CCT lacked the jurisdiction to try the case. Danladi stated that:

“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 Guaranty 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.”

“As against the defendant using his own legitimate income to defray the loan, he took public funds, running into billions from Kwara State Governemnt and lodged same in several tranches and in cash into his GTB account in 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 the Government House to lodge into the account and on some occasions, the defendant sent his aides from the Government House to give him the cash for lodgement into his account.”

“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 properties acquired by the defendant/applicant, while he was governor of Kwara State and various monies 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 sent 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.”

“Our investigation on the CCB Assets Declaration Forms for public officers filed by the defendant/respondent 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 properties were acquired 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 properties in the name of two companies because he could not buy two Federal Government properties in his personal name.

“The defendant bidded 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) 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 properties far in excess of his income.”

“While the Federal Government was selling its properties, the Central 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.”

While listing properties that were allegedly purchased while Saraki held sway as governor, Danladi also listed properties in Abuja an Lagos that Saraki had failed to declare in his asset declaration form.

“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.”

Chairman of the CCT, Danladi Umar, adjourned trial to March 24.

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