Recently, The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has reportedly seized some properties belonging to the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki.
According to Sunday Punch, the houses located at 15a, 15b and 17 MacDonald Road, Ikoyi, Lagos belong to the Senate President.
Punch also reports that the EFCC decided to place inscriptions and stickers on all the houses because they are not sure about which of the properties actually belong to Saraki.
The Senate President according to reports declared 15a and 15b in his asset declaration form, however, it is believed that some houses on the street also belong to him.
The houses are said to have been bought by Saraki from the Presidential Implementation Committee for the Sales of Government Property through shell companies.
Saraki’s relative who did not want his name to be mentioned told Punch correspondent about the properties on Friday, May 10, 2019.
“The EFCC had been making inquiries into the finances and assets of Saraki for quite some time. They came to inscribe ‘EFCC, Under Investigation’ in red on the walls and the fences. The irony is that even houses that don’t belong to Saraki were marked.
“From what we were told, they are keeping him under strict surveillance ahead of May 29, 2019 when they may invite him,” he said.
EFCC seizes Saraki’s properties in Lagos (Punch)
During Saraki’s trial in 2016 at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, the EFCC according to Punch presented evidence before the court alleging that the former governor of Kwara State owned houses on MacDonald Road but there were discrepancies in the addresses.
The EFCC witness during the trial, Michael Wetkas, had said investigations showed that House №15 MacDonald Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, and Block 15 Flat 1 to 4 on the same street belonged to Saraki.
He said Saraki bought the properties from the Presidential Committee on Sale of Federal Government Landed Properties in Lagos through his companies, Punch reports.
Corroborating his claim, Wetkas said when the EFCC wrote to the presidential committee to seek clarification about a property sold to TYNITY Company Limited, a company Saraki declared in his asset declaration form, the committee replied that from their record, the only property sold to the company was No15 Macdonald Street, Ikoyi.
Bukola Saraki during his trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (Nigeria News Direct )
Wetkas also said N123.7m was paid for House №15 MacDonald Road, Ikoyi, through a bank draft from the account of one of Saraki’s company called Skyview Properties Limited in Access Bank, Punch reports.
“My lord, there was a draft of N12.8m and another draft of N20m from Zenith Bank as well as a draft of N4m from GTBank as part of payment for the purchase of House №17 MacDonald Street.
“The N20m draft came from Carlys properties and Investment Limited and a draft of 136.1m was made on January 13, 2007, for the purchase of same property.
“Another draft of N180.6m was made through Saraki’s personal bank account in GTB.’’ the witness had said.
However, while responding to EFCC’s allegations against him over the properties, the Senate president said he had been tried, discharged and acquitted on same properties.
Speaking through his media aide, Yusuf Olaniyonu, Saraki according to Punch said he had never seen a place where someone, who had been declared innocent over a particular issue by the highest court in a country, would still be persecuted over the same issue.
He said: “If you look and check at the addresses of the properties they have marked, they are the same properties that formed the basis of his arraignment before the Code of Conduct Tribunal and the case dragged on to the Supreme Court.
“So, if the highest court in the land had adjudicated and made a pronouncement on an issue, can it be reopened?
“It is still a reinforcement of the statement we issued during the week.”
Recall that the EFCC recently launched a fresh investigation against Saraki over allegation of money laundering. The investigation dates back to 2003, when he was Kwara State Governor.
The anti-graft agency has also written a letter to the Kwara State Government to provide details of Saraki’s earnings, salaries, allowances, and estacodes during his eight years as governor of the state.
You’ll also recall that Dr. Bukola Saraki was the governor of Kwara State between from 2003 to 2011.