Nigerian Senator, Saraki wanted for alleged money laundering

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Bukola Saraki, former Governor of Kwara State
Bukola Saraki, former Governor of Kwara State
Bukola Saraki, former Governor of Kwara State

The Special Fraud Unit (SFU) of the Nigeria Police may soon declare former Governor Bukola Saraki wanted over what it called fresh facts that confirmed that several millions of dollars were allegedly laundered illegally into his private accounts.

In a counter affidavit deposed to by Jonah Wutu, a police officer attached to the Legal/Prosecution Section of the Force CID in Abuja, the police said that “background investigation has shown that applicant (Bukola Saraki), Peter Osagiede, Sunday Iboroh, Kennedy Izuagbe, Toy in Pinhero, applicant’s wife (Toyin Saraki) and so many companies were involved in laundering several and various sums of money in the excess of four billion naira.”

The police counter affidavit is in response to an affidavit earlier deposed to by Saraki and some of his hirelings who are asking the court to stop police from arresting or prosecuting him for alleged fraudulent conversion of public funds while in office.

The Police had on February 19, 2014 invited Saraki in connection with cases of “conspiracy and money laundering.” The police letter has reference number CR.3000/X/SFU/ADM/BFC/Vol.17/2014.

Rather than honour the invitation, the former governor rushed to the court praying it to stop the police from arresting or prosecuting him in relation to the matter.

In an application filed on February 25, 2014 and registered with the Federal High Court Abuja as FHC/ABJ/05/152/2014, Saraki is seeking, among other things, an order of the court “quashing the purported invitation letter dated 19th February 2014 with reference no: CR.3000/X/SFU/ADM/BFC/Vol.17/2014 which emanated from the 1st and 2nd respondents’ (the inspector general of police and th head of SFU “D” Departmernt, Force CID) agents as it affects the applicant (Saraki).”

He is also seeking an order of “perpetual injunction restraining the respondents, their agents, officers, jointly, severally either by themselves, privies, servants, however so-called from intimidating, threatening to arrest or arresting the applicant as well as other members of the applicant’s family, his wife, associates namely Mr Toyin Pinhero, Kennedy Izuagbe, Mr. Sunday Iboroh, Peter Osagiede, Abdul Adams and Austin Ikpi….”

The action was filed by Mahmoud Magaji SAN on behalf of Saraki.

But in a counter affidavit dated March 12, the police urged the court to dismiss Saraki’s application for enforcement of his fundamental right, insisting that the police – as a creation of the law – has every right to call in anyone for questioning.

The Police insisted that it has hard facts on how several millions of foreign currencies were allegedly wired into Saraki’s domiciliary and Nigerian Naira accounts.

The police also accuse Saraki of using fictitious names to launder several million of dollars into the accounts of some companies owned by him.

“There are several unusual cash inflows into the dollar domiciliary account of Carlislie Properties and Investment Ltd by Polybags Industry (Nig) Ltd.,” according to the police affidavit.
It added that PolyBags industry made payments of between US$4,500 and US$10,000 eight (8) separate times on 24th August, 2010 amounting to $78,000.

Curiously, the police said, “Polybags Industry NIg. has denied ever making such payments”, raising suspicion that the name polybag was probably used as a fictitious name to launder the money.

Police said different individuals linked to Saraki, including one Abdul Adama, lodged unusually huge sums of money into his naira and dollar accounts. One of such accounts is identified as 003497479.

Police listed some of the transactions as follows :”On the 10th of May 2009, 18 separate lodgments of $10,000 were made by the said Abdul Adama, who also used the fictitious name of Garba Dare to make some of these lodgments the same date! It totalled US$180,000.00 in one day!

“There was also an unusual single inflow on 12th February, 2010 of the sum of $120,000 which was immediately converted to pound sterling and wired overseas through the applicant (Saraki)’s Pound Sterling Account.

“There was unusual single cash inflow on 15th February, 2010 of the sum of $US1,000,000.00 in one day! Same was also converted to pound sterling and wired overseas through British Pound Sterling account No. 441/441953/3/1/0.

“The converted dollars to pounds sterling ended up in the purchase of a real property in the United Kingdom.”
The Police also said there are “so many other unusual heavy inflows into the applicant (Saraki)’s account that were usually wired overseas to fund applicant’s American Express Card No. 374588216 836009.”

“All these lodgments made in favour of the applicants have necessitated his invitation,” the affidavit added.

All the money laundering were allegedly done through the defunct Intercontinental Bank – which collapse is partly being blamed on Saraki’s clandestine takeover of the institution through his friend and suspended CBN Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.

Insisting that “no criminal wants to be exposed” and that (Saraki) is trying frantically to stop the police from investigating him”,the police urged the court to disregard Saraki’s application for enforcement of his fundamental human rights.

Justice R.A. Muhammed of Court 7 (Abuja) will hear the matter on April 8.

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