EFCC, Saraki in war of words over corruption trial

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, are exchanging war of words over the alleged corruption trial of the latter.

The EFCC had alleged that the former top lawmaker looted about N12billion during his days as Kwara State governor.

He was arraigned on the allegation and the former governor responded by saying the latest probe on him was because the 8th Senate of which he presided over severally refused to confirm Ibrahim Magu, the acting chairman of the EFCC.

The response of the former Senate President was published by a national daily which exclusively obtained it from anonymous sources.

This led to the anti-graft commission alleging that Saraki is blackmailing Mr Magu due to his latest corruption trial.

“Saraki deviously chose to divert attention from the weighty allegations of financial fraud trailing his eight years stewardship in Kwara and leadership of the senate,” a statement signed by the commission’s spokesperson, Tony Orilade, partly read.

Mr Olaride said the former Kwara governor made the claim in a bid to prevent the chief judge of the federal high court from transferring his case from Taiwo Taiwo, a judge who “restrained the commission from performing its statutory duties.”

“While waiting for the careful response of the CJ over the commission’s request, we wish to advise ex-president of the senate to carry his cross and allow the judiciary to perform its constitutional role,” he said.

Responding, Saraki told the EFCC that they are on a wild goose chase. In a statement by his media aide, Yusuph Olaniyonu, the former lawmaker denied engaging in media campaign against the helmsman of the EFCC.

“Dr. Saraki has not engaged in any media war. Rather, Dr. Saraki has been the one at the receiving end of the media onslaught sponsored from the office of the EFCC,” Mr Olaniyonu said.

“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 Dr. 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. Dr. 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.

“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,” he added.

The media aide said the probe of his principal during the time he was governor of Kwara were contained in four charges at the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCT) that have been dismissed.

“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,” he added.