Deji Elumoye in Abuja, Martins Ifijeh and Esther Oluku in Lagos
Former President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has described as a wild goose chase, the reported probe of his four-year tenure as Senate president by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), insisting that he is innocent.
Saraki, in a statement issued yesterday by his Media Adviser, Yusuph Olaniyonu, the former Senate president said nothing good would come out of the investigation as his tenure had nothing to do with award of contracts and finances of the eighth National Assembly.
According to the statement, “while the EFCC claims that it is investigating the Office of the Senate President between 2015 and 2019, we make bold to say that it is just on a wild goose chase.
“That office has nothing to do with contract awards and handling of the finances of the National Assembly. These are functions of the bureaucracy of the National Assembly, otherwise known as the National Assembly Management”.
On EFCC’s persistent probe of Saraki’s tenure as Governor of Kwara State between 2003 and 2011, the statement maintained that all the issues the anti-graft agency is raising now were the same issues that were contained in four of the charges filed before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) and taken before the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.
“The CCT case went beyond the subject matter of asset declaration. They raised issues about the assets, how and when they were acquired, the sources of their funding and the banking transactions of Saraki. That is why we maintain that since the issues have been determined by the courts up to the Supreme Court, the EFCC is just on a persecution and smear campaigns with its current investigations.
“At the time the CCT charges were filed, it was generally believed some of the charges should not have been lumped up with the asset declaration issues. However, in their desperation to nail Saraki, some of the charges that contained insinuations that Kwara State funds were paid into accounts owned by him and companies in which he has interests were filed. And twice, the charges went before the highest court in the land and he was discharged and acquitted.
“It is also the reason that Saraki believes that the current investigation constitutes an infringement on his fundamental human rights. And in the exercise of his belief in the judiciary, he filed a case seeking the court’s intervention for the protection and enforcement of the rights,” the statement explained.
The statement further clarified that Saraki has not engaged in any media war “but rather, Saraki has been the one at the receiving end of the media onslaught sponsored from the office of the EFCC.
“Various documents and court processes from the agency have been given to a particular newspaper for publication. In fact, while the EFCC distributed copies of its letter to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court immediately it was submitted, we are still surprised how Saraki’s response written early May found its way into a newspaper last Sunday. It should be known that if we were interested in leaking the letter, we would not wait for seven weeks to do that. Saraki believes he is on firm ground on the points of law and has nothing to be afraid of. He is innocent of the charges.”
The statement added that Saraki is not interested in obstructing any investigation by the EFCC or any security agency.