By Temitope Owotoki
Senator Bukola Saraki, the Senate President, has tackled the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), over the seizure of some of his residential houses located in the Ikoyi area of Lagos.
The seizure is coming less than a week after the anti-graft agency launched a fresh probe against the senate president over allegations of money laundering.
The EFCC is investigating Saraki’s earnings during his time as governor of Kwara state. Saraki governed the state between 2003 and 2011 before proceeding to the senate.
But Saraki has maintained that the action of the EFCC was a witch-hunt and “only reinforced our earlier stated position that their current investigation is mischievous.”
A statement by Yusuph Olaniyonu, his Special Adviser (Media and Publicity) said the action of EFCC clearly confirmed the Senate President earlier alarm that the commission is pout on a witch hunting exercise.
“Our attention has been drawn to the fact that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has marked certain property belonging to Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, obviously under the claim that they are subject of investigation.
“The action of the EFCC only reinforced our earlier stated position that their current investigation is mischievous, contrary to the tenets of the rule of law and only aimed at settling scores. This position is founded on the fact that these same buildings were the subject of earlier investigations by the EFCC as well as the case initiated by the Federal Government at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
“Also, the case went all the way to the highest court in our country, the Supreme Court of Nigeria. In that case, Saraki was discharged and acquitted because the courts believe the government has no case.”
The affected houses are located at 15a, 15b and 17 MacDonald road, Ikoyi, Lagos, allegedly purchased by Saraki.
Saraki’s relative was also quoted to have said that the houses were seized last Friday so as to keep the senate president “under strict surveillance ahead of May 29, 2019 when they may invite him.”
“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,” the relative said.
Olaniyonu had previously accused the commission of intimidating Saraki with its probe of his tenure as governor of Kwara state.
In its response, the anti-corruption agency told the senate president that he ought not to be afraid if he has nothing to hide.