by Michael Abimboye
Since emerging president of the Senate and chairman of the 8th national assembly, Bukola Saraki, has been involved in one scandal or the other, with the most recent been the declaration of his former business associate, Kennedy Izuagbe, a former director of Societe Generale Bank Nigeria wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Interestingly, the corruption cases resurfaced when Saraki beat the leadership of the ruling All Progressive Congress to emerge Senate President.
The former Kwara state governor has linked the various corruption cases to his political enemies within the APC who believe Saraki is nursing a presidential ambition come 2019.
Saraki however thinks the cases against his person are “not an anti-corruption driven case and cannot be part of the moves aimed at fighting corruption,” his media office said in a statement on Wednesday, September 16, 2015.
“It is simply a pure malicious and politically motivated prosecution aimed at undermining the person and office of the Senate President” the statement added.
1. Saraki was accused of ‘Dual citizenship’ and so cannot be the senate president. Online news platform, Sahara Reporters, presented a photo copy of a United Kingdom passport allegedly belonging to Mr Saraki; claim, Saraki described as “dubious and utterly false”
2. Saraki was again caught in the web of “falsification of senate standing order’ with the police investigating the matter and submitting its report to the Attorney General of the Federation. But nothing seems to have been done to the report.
3. Saraki, a former Kwara state governor was said to have ‘Embezzled of funds’ during his tenure as governor and during his tenure as a member of the senate.
4. His wife, Toyin Saraki, was also not spared in the anti-corruption war. She was invited by the country’s anti-graft agency, EFCC for ‘questioning over alleged fraud to the tune of N2 billion’. Mrs Saraki who honoured the invitation arrived the EFCC like a boss escorted by many political bodyguards including Senator Dino Melaye.
5. The anti-corruption took a turn when the senate committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions began a probe of the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Lamorde, over allegations that he diverted over N1 trillion being proceeds recovered from convicted persons by the agency.
It was reported that ‘Saraki planned to smear the integrity of the EFCC’ by contacting Mr. Uboh, the petitioner, and urging him to submit a petition to the Senate blackmailing the anti-corruption agency through Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, a first-term senator from Delta State.
But Saraki denied the report claiming that “It is pertinent and with all sense of responsibility and commitment to state unequivocally that the story is far from the truth.”
6. The latest of the anti-corruption war against the person of Mr Saraki is the ‘falsification of asset declaration’ leveled against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau. The CCB had leveled a 13 count corruption charge against the senate president.
7. Media reports have linked the ‘EFCC wanted Kennedy Izuagbe’, a former director of Societe Generale Bank Nigeria Plc, to the senate president. Societe Generale Bank is owned by Saraki’s late father, Olusola Saraki. Mr. Izuagbe, 45, is being investigated in a case of conspiracy and money laundering to the tune of over N3.6 billion.
Despite the numerous corruption cases, Senator Saraki affirms his belief in the justice system and that he will diligently state his case on all allegations. He promises to co-operate with the Tribunal and other lawful government agencies in the bid to genuinely fight corruption and eliminate impunity in our public affairs.
Saraki’s media office however claim the different cases against the senate president is a “another case of desperation to fight Dr. Saraki because of his recent stance on national issues and that anytime you try to fight corruption or insist that the right thing should be done, the system will always come after you.”
Michael Abimboye is a writer with Naij.com, where this article first appeared.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.