A former Senate President, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has said the embattled acting Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)’s chairman, Ibrahim Magu, took the issue of his non-confirmation by the Senate under his leadership personally. Saraki disclosed this in a statement he personally signed on Thursday which was made available to Daily Trust on Friday.
He maintained that the Senate followed due process in the non-confirmation of the former acting chairman for two consecutive times as could be seen in the records of proceedings.
“The records of the Senate during the period are there for the perusal of all Nigerians interested in the truth,” he said. Saraki said the intention of the EFCC was to damage his reputation and that of his family, stressing the last five years “have been very challenging for me and my family.”
He lauded the judgement of the Federal High Court, Lagos, delivered by Justice Rilwan M. Aikawa, which dismissed the application by the EFCC for forfeiture order on his Ilorin home in Kwara State.
“I am particularly happy that the court specifically ruled that there was no evidence that the property was built with any illicit or stolen funds from Kwara State Government or any other institution or quarter, whatsoever.” The court had, in December last year, granted an interim forfeiture order of Saraki’s house located at No 1 Abdulkadir road GRA, Ilorin.
Saraki, a former governor of Kwara State (2003-2011) recalled that this would be the fifth case instituted against him by the EFCC where he triumphed.
He, however, declared that he holds no grudge against any individual for their role in his trials, pointing out that his experiences had strengthened his faith in Almighty Allah. “I have endured and defeated one false allegation and malicious litigation after another, in an ill-motivated persecution, intimidation and harassment, through which some vested interests sought to damage my name and label me with charges of corruption but with the grace of Allah, I have always been victorious.
“I thank God for the outcome of this case which is the fifth victory in cases in which the EFCC was either the main investigating agency or the plaintiff,” Saraki stated.
According to the former governor, with the outcome of Thursday’s case, the EFCC “should learn that a serious issue like the fight against corruption should not be reduced to a forum-shopping means to execute personal vendetta or prosecute parochial agenda.” “Fighting corruption and combating economic crime requires stakeholders to eschew coercion while employing upright diligence, due process, fairness, equity and broad mindedness in dealing with all cases and persons,” Saraki said.
Saraki restated his commitment to the fight against corruption, recalling how he sponsored a motion which exposed the fraud in the fuel subsidy regime in the 7th National Assembly. He stated that the 8th Senate under his leadership passed five different bills aimed at strengthening the fight against corruption, particularly the law that created the National Financial Intelligence Agency (NFIA).
“With today’s decision of the Court, it is my expectation that the EFCC which has played significant roles in the various court cases against me from the CCT to Supreme Court and back at the Federal High Court, with the consequent media trial and malicious campaigns, will now leave me alone to live my life, and enjoy my unfettered rights to freedom of thought, expression, association, occupation and dignity, as a private citizen and focus on serious issues of national development,” Saraki added.
Magu is presently being investigated for alleged fraud in the EFCC by a presidential panel. He has since been suspended as the acting chairman of the anti-graft agency alongside 12 other top officers.
Source: Daily Trust