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Saraki to be charged over alleged false assets declaration

By The Rainbow
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The Code of Conduct Tribunal has filed charges against the Senate President Bukola Saraki for alleged false assets declaration.

But Saraki has sniggered at the charges, which are for offences he allegedly committed as fomer governor of Kwara State, describing them as frivolous.

The trial of the Senate President on the
a 13-count charge is scheduled to commence in Abuja on Friday. The charges were signed by Muslim Hassa n, a deputy director in the Federal Ministry of Justice.

The allegations are under Section 2 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act. The offences are punishable under paragraph 9 of the fifth schedule of the Constitution.

The charges against Saraki include false declaration of assets, alleged acquisition of assets beyond his legitimate earnings and keeping foreign accounts while holding public office first as Kwara State governor in 2003 and later as a senator.

“That you, Dr. Bukola Saraki, whilst being the governor of Kwara State on or about 16th September, 2003 within the jurisdiction of this honourable tribunal did make a false declaration in the asset declaration form for public officers on assumption of office as Governor of Kwara State by an anticipatory asset declaration,” the charge sheet read in part.

The Senate president was said to have claimed to have ownership of a property on N0. 15A and 15 McDonald, Ikoyi, Lagos, said to have been acquired through his company, Carlisie Properties Limited, in 2000.

In the charges, dated September 11, Saraki is accused of committing, among others, offences ranging from anticipatory declaration of assets to making false declaration of assets in the forms he filed at the Code of Conduct Bureau while he was governor of Kwara State.

Some of the charges against Saraki reads thus:
•Making anticipatory declaration of House 15A & 15B, McDonald, Ikoyi, Lagos

•Failure to declare property on Plot 2A, Glover Road, Ikoyi, Lagos.

•Failure to declare property on No. 1, Tagus Street, Maitama, Abuja (Plot 2482, Cadastral Zone A06, Abuja)

•Failure to declare property No.3, Tagus Street, Maitama, Abuja (Plot 2481, Cadastral Properties Limited)

•Claiming to own property on No 42 Gerard Road, Ikoyi and earning N110,000,000.00 per annum at a time property was under construction

•Failure to declare N375m GTB loan converted to 1.5m Pound Sterling and used to purchase property in London

•Operating a foreign bank account
•Transfer of $3.4m from GTB to foreign bank account during tenure as governor

•Failure to declare leasehold interest in No. 42, Remi Fani-Kayode Street, Ikeja

The Senate President sniggered at the charges when he told correspondents in Abuja that “most of them are frivolous and not true”.

He quoted as saying, “I have always done my declaration. We will continue to do our job.

“There is no doubt that it is mischievous. It is not current. The issues are not true. As far as we are concerned, we are not shaking. We will focus on what we have come to do in the interest of the country?”

He also said the allegation was a reflection of the saying that each time you fight corruption, the system will fight you.

Saraki also said the allegation of inconsistencies in his assets declaration is “malicious”.

Saraki's position is contained in a 13-point statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Sanni Onogu, in Abuja .

“Though the President of the Senate had (sic) yet to be served any court process in that respect, we feel obliged to explain to Nigerians that all the claims contained in the charge sheet are false, incorrect and untrue.

“The claims are based on outright fabrication and mischief and a politically-motivated prosecution aimed at undermining the person and office of the Senate President.

“We do not know on whose authority these charges are filed when the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act clearly indicate that any prosecution must be authorised by an Attorney-General (AG).

“We know the nation last had an AG in May 2015 and we believe that this is another clear indication that the CCT is acting under influence from outside its domain and therefore ready to bend the rules to achieve this obnoxious objective.

“It is surprising that the CCT is now referring to his (Saraki) assets declaration made in 2003 while in office as Governor of Kwara State to formulate their charges.

“They therefore ignored the recent declaration for which they last week, issued an acknowledgement.''

The statement noted that the Code of Conduct Bureau, following its processes, ought to have carried out the verification of the assets and ascertain the claims made.

It noted that for the bureau to come up with allegations of inconsistencies 12 years later, was a clear case of witch-hunt.

The statement said Saraki was ready to meet those behind the plot in court.

“We are of the opinion that the present effort is a desperate move initiated due to external influence and interference.

“ It should also be noted that Dr Saraki, as Governor of Kwara State, never operated a foreign account.

“Also, some of the issues contained in the charge sheet are subjects of issues earlier decided on, or on-going in courts.”

Saraki said he had always kept to global standards of transparency and accountability as required and affirmed his belief in the justice system.

•Making anticipatory declaration of House 15A & 15B, McDonald, Ikoyi, Lagos

•Failure to declare property on Plot 2A, Glover Road, Ikoyi, Lagos.

•Failure to declare property on No. 1, Tagus Street, Maitama, Abuja (Plot 2482, Cadastral Zone A06, Abuja)

•Failure to declare property No.3, Tagus Street, Maitama, Abuja (Plot 2481, Cadastral Properties Limited)

•Claiming to own property on No 42 Gerard Road, Ikoyi and earning N110,000,000.00 per annum at a time property was under construction

•Failure to declare N375m GTB loan converted to 1.5m Pound Sterling and used to purchase property in London

•Operating a foreign bank account
•Transfer of $3.4m from GTB to foreign bank account during tenure as governor

•Failure to declare leasehold interest in No. 42, Remi Fani-Kayode Street, Ikeja

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