Alleged N12b diversion: EFCC faults Saraki’s claim

July 1, 2019
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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday said non-confirmation of its Acting Chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, has no link with the current probe of former Senate President Bukolala Saraki.

The anti-graft agency faulted Saraki for alleging that his investigation by the EFCC for diverting about N12 billion Kwara State funds, among others, was due to the refusal of the Senate to confirm Magu.

It asked the ex-Senate President to allow the law to take its course instead of running from pillar to post.

The EFCC said no amount of media campaign against Magu could stop the prosecution of Saraki.

A statement in Abuja, the nation’s capital, by its Acting Head of Media and Publicity, Mr. Tony Orilade, was reacting to Saraki’s petition to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdu Kafarati, that he is a victim of Magu’s vendetta.

The agency accused Saraki of coming up with mendacious reasons on why the CJ should ignore the request for seeking the transfer of EFCC cases from Justice Taiwo Taiwo.

It said the probes being carried out by the anti-graft agency were nothing personal.

The statement said: “The attention of the EFCC has been drawn to the false claim by Dr. Saraki, who, in the face of ongoing investigation against him here in Nigeria, seems to have chosen outside the shores of Nigeria as the launch pad of his campaign of calumny against the EFCC and its leadership.

Read also: EFCC re-arraigns ex-FCT minister Akinjide over ‘Diezani cash’

“We wish to state without any contradiction that the ongoing investigation against former Senate President and other Politically-Exposed Persons (PEPs) are on course while Saraki and his co-travellers will surely have their day in court shortly.

“Particularly, of reference is the report published on June 30, 2019, titled: ‘Magu begged me to help his confirmation by the Senate, Saraki tells CJ Kafarati,’ in which Saraki deviously chose to divert attention from the weighty allegations of financial fraud trailing his eight years’ stewardship in Kwara State and leadership of the Senate.

“Instead, he is coming up with mendacious reasons on why the Chief Judge of Federal High Court should ignore the request of the EFCC seeking the transfer of its cases from Justice Taiwo Taiwo, who curiously granted ex-parte order to restrain the commission from performing its statutory duties.

“Incidentally, the EFCC has filed a detailed response against the judge’s restraining order and took up issues over the controversial interim order.”

The EFCC asked Saraki to bear his own cross now that he is no longer the President of the Senate.

The statement added: “While waiting for the careful response of the CJ over the Commission’s request, we wish to advise ex- Senate President to carry his cross and allow the judiciary to perform its constitutional role.

“It is preposterous for the ex-Senate President to be raising issues on what transpired during the confirmation of the EFCC boss in 2016 when he is no longer in charge of the Senate in 2019.

“It is too late for him in the day, to be claiming innocence over the confirmation saga when every Nigerian knew what transpired under his watch.

“The commission under Magu has moved on and will not be distracted over mundane issue.”

The EFCC said Saraki has no need to be afraid of the agency, if his conscience is clear.

It said: “Let it be stated in unequivocal terms that the investigation of Saraki’s stewardship, whether as a former Senate President or as a former governor of Kwara State, has absolutely nothing to do with the non-confirmation of Mr. Ibrahim Magu as the substantive Chairman of the EFCC.

“While the EFCC will not allow itself to be drawn by Saraki to take up issues with him on the pages of newspapers, it is pertinent to once again state in clear terms that the probes being carried out by the EFCC are nothing personal, but all about enthroning probity in governance, and letting leaders know that even out of office, they will be held accountable for their stewardship.

“Again, it is worth reminding Saraki that he has no need to be scared of the EFCC and its leadership as long as he believes he has a clear conscience.

“He should, therefore, rather than running from pillar to post, allow the law to take its course.”

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