Again, SFU invites Saraki over questionable transactions  

By The Citizen

The Special Fraud Unit, Nigeria Police Force, Ikoyi, Lagos, has for a second time extended invitation to the former Governor Bukola Saraki of Kwara State to explain his role over some alleged questionable transactions while he was in the office which the Police is investigating.

According to a reliable source who confided in THE CITIZEN, Saraki is expected report at SFU after Sallah holidays of Tuesday and Wednesday next week. At the moment, it is not clear on the particular transactions the police is referring to but a source said, 'His recent invitation is a continuation of our investigation on some transactions involving the former Kwara governor. His expected to appear before the police immediately after Sallah break.'

It could be recalled the SFU had some time in the past invited Senator Saraki over his alleged role in a loan waiver granted by the defunct Intercontinental bank plc to four companies allegedly promoted by him.

In a statement signed by the Commissioner of Police, SFU, Mr. Tunde Ogunsakin, said, 'A sum of N9.97bn waiver was allegedly granted four companies said to be promoted by Saraki while he was governor of Kwara State.

'This controversial waiver of N9.97bn represents about 82 per cent of the N11.97bn indebtedness granted some companies in February 2010 by the board of the now defunct Intercontinental Bank.

'The bank was then under the headship of Mahmood Alabi as the MD/CEO. SFU is investigating this waiver.'

The companies said to have jointly incurred this indebtedness are Joy Petroleum Ltd., Skyview Properties Ltd., Dicetrade and Limkers Nigeria Ltd.

The debts originated from several loans/facilities worth billions of naira granted the companies, which were allegedly promoted by Saraki between 2004 and 2009 while he was governor.

Ogunsakin said, 'The loans were used to purchase shares of blue chip companies and choice landed properties in Lagos and Abuja.

'Some of the landed properties worth billions of naira used to secure the loans were curiously released after payment of only N2.3bn out of the N11.97bn jointly owed the bank by the companies.

'A Central Bank report of November 2010 had indicted the management of the bank headed by Alabi for granting the waivers. It noted that the companies' chief promoter had 'what it takes to pay the indebtedness.'

The statement said that a post-CBN Credit and Investigation Committee set up by then Intercontinental Bank Plc to consider Saraki's request for the waivers had also cautioned against it.

The report had warned that the waivers might be called for a review in future as they constituted a depletion of the bank's shareholders' funds.