Saraki: Judge Placed Under Watch Over Money Laundering Case
SAN FRANCISCO, April 04, (THEWILL) - Anti-graft agencies and police authorities have placed Justice Ahmed Muhammed of Abuja High Court 7 under surveillance as hearing in the money laundering case against former governor Bukola Saraki come up next Tuesday "It is very clear that what the former governor Bukola Saraki is asking for are questionable orders of the court to protect him from probe.
He is doing everything to ensure he kills the case including compromising the judiciary," a senior official at the Police Special Fraud Unit (SFU) Abuja said.
Asked why the judge is being placed under surveillance, the police source said: "We know that the reason Bukola Saraki chose Justice Muhammed is to exploit the rapport between the judge and his lawyer handling the case, Mahmoud Magaji (SAN) to get the fraudulent reliefs he is seeking.
" Prodded to explain the relationship between Justice Muhammed and the senior lawyer, the source said "both men were classmates at the University of Maiduguri and they both attended the Nigerian Law School in the same year.
Both men are very close friends.
So we smell rat.
Saraki has committed terrible crimes and must be brought to book.
He must have his days in the court.
" He said that it would not be funny if the judge grants any injunction restraining a government body established by the law from doing its statutory job.
"That is exactly what Saraki wants and I don't think he should get it, if we must move forward as a nation.
The era of judges granting questionable order, especially one that shields corrupt people is over," he said.
The source lamented that "virtually all the anti-graft agencies and the police are being accused of collecting bribes from Saraki.
The people of Kwara State have continued to write petitions upon petitions and backing same with facts and figures.
In fact, they now insinuate in their petitions that some police officers are shielding him.
The decision is that the guy should go and stand trial for his alleged offences.
" It was recently reported that Nigeria's Police Special Fraud Unit may soon declare former Governor Bukola Saraki wanted over what it called fresh facts that confirmed that several millions of dollars were illegally laundered into his private accounts.
In a counter affidavit deposed to by Jonah Wutu, a police officer attached to the Legal/Prosecution Section of the Force CID in Abuja, the police had said that "background investigation has shown that the applicant (Bukola Saraki), Peter Osagiede, Sunday Iboroh, Kennedy Izuagbe, Toyin Pinhero, applicant's wife (Toyin Saraki) and so many companies were involved in laundering several and various sums of money in the excess of N4 billion.
" The police counter affidavit is in response to an affidavit earlier deposed to by Saraki and some of his hirelings who are asking the court to stop the police from arresting or prosecuting him for alleged fraudulent conversion of public funds while in office.
The police had on February 19 invited Saraki in connection with cases of "conspiracy and money laundering.
" The police letter is referencedCR.
But rather than honour the invitation, the former governor rushed to the court praying it to stop the police from arresting or prosecuting him in relation to the matter.
In an application filed on February 25 and registered with the Federal High Court Abuja as FHC/ABJ/05/152/2014, Saraki is seeking, among other things, an order of the court "quashing the purported invitation letter dated 19th February 2014 with reference no: CR.
17/2014 which emanated from the 1st and 2nd respondents' (the Inspector General of Police and the head of SFU "D" Departmernt, Force CID) agents as it affects the applicant (Saraki).
" He is also seeking an order of "perpetual injunction restraining the respondents, their agents, officers, jointly, severally either by themselves, privies, servants, however so-called from intimidating, threatening to arrest or arresting the applicant as well as other members of the applicant's family, his wife, associates namely Mr Toy in Pinhero, Kennedy Izuagbe, Mr.
Sunday Iboroh, Peter Osagiede, Abdul Adams and Austin Ikpi.
" The action was filed by Magaji (SAN) on behalf of Saraki.
But in a counter affidavit dated March 12, the police urged the court to dismiss Saraki's application for enforcement of fundamental rights, insisting that the police - as a creation of the law - has every right to call in anyone for questioning.
The police insisted that it has hard facts on how several millions of foreign currencies were wired into Saraki's domiciliary and Nigerian Naira accounts.
The police also accused Saraki of using fictitious names to launder several millions of dollars into the accounts of some companies owned by him.
"There are several unusual cash inflows into the dollar domiciliary account of Carlislie Properties and Investment Ltd by Polybags Industry (Nig) Ltd.
," according to the police affidavit.
It added that PolyBags Industry made payments of between US$4,500 and US$10,000 eight separate times on 24th August, 2010 amounting to $78,000.
Curiously, the police said, "Polybags Industry NIg.
has denied ever making such payments", raising suspicion that the name Polybag was probably used as a fictitious name to launder the money.
The police said different individuals linked to Saraki, including one Abdul Adama, lodged unusually huge sums of money into his naira and dollar accounts.
One of such accounts is identified as 003497479.
The police also said: "On the 10th of May 2009, 18 separate lodgments of $10,000 were made by the said Abdul Adama, who also used the fictitious name of Garba Dare to make some of there lodgments the same date! It totalled US$180,000.
00 in one day! "There was also an unusual single inflow on 12th February, 2010 of the sum of $120,000 which was immediately converted to pound sterling and washed overseas through applicant (Saraki)'s Pound Sterling Account.
"There was unusual single cash inflow on 15th February, 2010 of the sum of $US1,000,000.
00 in one day! Same was also converted to pound sterling and washed overseas through British Pound Sterling account No.
"The converted dollars to pounds sterling ended up in the purchase of a real property in the United Kingdom.
" The police also said there are "so many other unusual heavy inflows into the applicant (Saraki)'s account that were usually washed overseas to fund applicant's American Express Card No.
"All these lodgments made in favour of applicants have necessitated his invitation," the affidavit added.
All the money laundering were done through the defunct Intercontinental Bank - which collapse is partly being blamed on Saraki's clandestine takeover of the institution through his friend and suspended Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.
Insisting that "no criminal wants to be exposed" and that (Saraki) is trying frantically to stop the police from investigating him", the police urged the court to disregard Saraki's application for enforcement of his fundamental human rights.
Justice Muhammed of Court 7 (Abuja) will hear the matter on Tuesday.