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Corruption: EFCC seizes Saraki properties

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has seized some landed properties owned by the Senate President Bukola Saraki,  Nigerian News reports.

These properties are located at 15a, 15b and 17 MacDonald Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, are said to belong to Bukola Saraki.

However, EFCC was said to be unclear regarding the ownership of these properties as they are in doubt as to which of the houses actually belong to the Senate President thus,  they decided to place inscriptions and stickers on all of them.

EFCC however confirmed that 15a and 15b were declared by Saraki in his asset declaration form, but it is alleged that some other landed properties on the street were purchased by Saraki from the Presidential Implementation Committee for the Sales of Government  Property through Shell Companies.

One of the Senate President’s relatives who pleaded for anonymity confirmed that the houses were seized on Friday.

He said, “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.”

In 2016, while presenting against Saraki before the Code of Conduct Tribunal,  EFCC alleged that the former governor possessed properties on Mc Donald’s Street but there was no clarity about the actual addresses of these properties.

The EFCC witness, Michael Wetkas, had said investigation revealed that House No. 15 MacDonald Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, and Block 15 Flat 1 to 4 on the same street belonged to Saraki.

According to him, the Senate President bought the properties from the Presidential Committee on Sale of Federal Government Landed Properties in Lagos through his companies.

He added that the defendant made a bank draft in the name of TYNITY Company Limited, which he declared in the asset declaration form.

Wetkas further explained that when the EFCC investigation team wrote to the presidential committee seeking clarification, the committee responded from their records, the only property sold to the company was No. 15 Macdonald Street, Ikoyi.

Wetkas disclosed that 75 per cent, which amounted to N123.7m was paid for House No. 15 MacDonald Road, Ikoyi, through a bank draft from the account of one of Saraki’s company called Skyview Properties Limited in Access Bank.

He also noted that from investigations, it was discovered that Saraki made a bank draft through his company TYNITY and paid for House No. 17 MacDonald Road in Ikoyi, Lagos, in the sum of N256.3m.

The witness had said, “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 No. 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.’’

Just a week ago,  EFCC last announced a probe into the activities of the Senate President dating back to 2003 when he became the governor of Kwara State.

This was followed by EFCC’s letter directed to the Kwara State Government House, asking for the details of all of Saraki’s earnings including salaries, allowances and estacode during his eight years as governor.

Meanwhile, Saraki’s case is said to be a tricky one because apart from owning a Nigerian passport, he also holds a British passport, which means he can travel out of the country easily.

A relation of the Senate President added, “The EFCC is building its case from the CCT trial which Saraki won in 2017. Even though he doesn’t have immunity now, they don’t want to detain him because of his position. They are waiting for his tenure to end before pouncing on him.

“They know that when he is no longer a senator, his colleagues in the upper chamber will not be able to come to his defence and accompany him to the EFCC or to the court.”

In response,  the former governor of Kwara state has come out to defend himself by saying that he had been charged and acquitted  on the same property located at Mc Donald’s Street.

He added that the properties were the subject of his arraignment before the CCT by the Federal Government.

Saraki, who spoke through his media aide, Mr Yusuph Olaniyonu, told one of our correspondents that 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.”

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governance

Why Governor Elect In Imo State, Ihedioha Might Not Be Inaugurated

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Why Governor Elect In Imo State, Ihedioha Might Not Be Inaugurated

The Governor-elect in Imo State, Emeka Ihedioha might not be inaugurated on 29th of May, 2019 as he was charged to Federal High Court by a plaintiff, Clifford Eze who was the Democratic Alternative, DA candidate in the past Gubernatorial election in Imo state, NIGERIA NEWS reports.

The Justice, PA Rimgim at the federal high court said that the plaintiff is very wrong for bringing up election matter after the election and then defense counsel, Emeka Ihejirika back what the justice said up by insinuating that the Clifford Eze does not follow the due process of the court thereby not in line with the court proceedings.

The defense counsel further state that, ”it is a primary knowledge that the regular court does not entertain post-election matters.

“The plaintiffs are already at the tribunal and the same things they brought up for argument at the tribunal are the same things they brought to the regular court.

“Apart from the federal high court lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the suit, it was an abuse of court processes.

“That was why the court slammed an N5m cost against the plaintiffs. It is as simple as that.”

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Election

INEC recovers 25 returning certificate from PDP, APC and states reasons

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inec pdp apc

 On Monday, the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC said it had pulled back 25 return certificates issued to some candidates who were previously announced as winners of the 2019 general election.

It said that the withdrawals were made on orders from the court.

Mr Festus Okoye, administrator of the Committee on Information and Voter Education, uncovered this on the occasion,“forum on Media Coverage of 2019 General Elections,” that took place in Enugu.

Okoye said that 20 of the 25 return certificates were withdrawn from All Progressive Congress candidates and reissued to different APC party individuals.While two certificates were withdrawn from the People’s Democratic Party competitors and were reissued to other PDP candidates.

He said the remaining three endorsements had been withdrawn from both the APC and the PDP candidates and issued to other party individuals.

“Before we left INEC national headquarters on Friday; the commission had withdrawn 25 certificates of return from the first owners and presented to their new owners, following court orders to do that,” he said.

Okoye praised the journalists for their transparency and powerful commitment with the commission, amid and after the elections.

He included that for the success of future elections, the media had proved to be fundamental partners.

He portrayed the media as the masses ‘ main line of reach  to help clarify the political and electoral decisions of INEC.

The President of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Mr Chris Isigozu, said the media had appreciated hearty discussions with INEC  during and after the elections.

Isigozu praised the commission for performing respectably well, given the assets and length of collaboration with different partners associated with the electoral process.

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