The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has accused former Senate President Bukola Saraki of diverting N12 billion from the treasury of the Kwara State Government illegally while he was governor of the state between 2003 and 2011.
The commission said the money was withdrawn in cash, the Punch Newspaper reported.
The money, EFCC said, was allegedly used by Mr Saraki to offset a N1.36 billion bank loan he used in purchasing homes at 15, 15A, 17, 17A and four flats on Macdonald Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, hence, its decision to seize the properties.
The EFCC had in May, marked the said properties placing inscriptions ‘EFCC, Under Investigation’ in red on the walls and the fences of the houses.
It said Mr Saraki purchased them from the Presidential Implementation Committee for the Sale of Government Property through shell companies.
In a counter-affidavit to Mr Saraki’s originating motion with suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/507/2019, the anti-graft agency asked Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, to rescind the ex parte order preventing the commission from investigating and prosecuting Mr Saraki.
In a counter-affidavit deposed to by Ojilibo Stanley on behalf of the EFCC, the agency said it had established a case of money laundering, criminal breach of trust and conspiracy by the immediate past Senate President.
The EFCC said Mr Saraki, through his companies had taken loans worth N1.36 billion from the Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) and Intercontinental Bank (now Access Bank) between 2005 and 2006.
In a bid to offset the loan, the ex-governor “began to divert N100 million from the coffers of the state monthly,” the commission said.
The affidavit stated that on February 28, 2005, the Presidential Implementation Committee on the sale of Federal Government Landed Properties wrote a letter to Mr Saraki conveying the approval of the then minister of lands and housing for the sale of properties at 15 and 17 Macdonald Road, Ikoyi.
The EFCC said, sequel to the letter, Mr Saraki wrote to GTB on March 8, 2005, requesting N200 million loan to finance the acquisition of the properties and on March 24, 2005, GTB approved the loan to partly finance the purchase of the properties.
The agency said on October 11, 2006, another loan of N380 million was granted to the ex-Senate President by GTB to partly finance the acquisition of properties located at 17 and 17A Macdonald Road, Ikoyi.
And on January 30, 2007, a personal loan of N380 million was again granted to the former governor to partly finance the same properties, it said.
According to EFCC, another loan of N400 million was obtained by Mr Saraki to develop the same properties on April 28, 2009.
“The personal loans used to acquire the properties were later liquidated with the proceeds of the applicant’s (Mr Saraki’s) criminal breach of trust or misappropriation of funds of the Kwara State Government.
“The applicant (Mr Saraki) procured one Abdul Adama, who was his personal member of staff to receive cash from then Controller of Finance and Account of Government House, Kwara State, Mr Isiaka Kareem, on a monthly basis, the sum of N100 million.
“While the applicant was the governor of Kwara State, the total sum of N12 billion was withdrawn in cash from the Kwara State Government House’s account domiciled in Zenith Bank,” the affidavit read.