Kwara Women Dancing in soladirity for Bukola Saraki… in Lagos on Monday…Photo: Ben Ezeamalu
Bukola Saraki, a former governor of Kwara State, who was declared wanted earlier Saturday by the special fraud unit of the police, has agreed to turn himself in to the police on Monday by 9 a.m.
The senator said in a statement Saturday night (read full statement below this story) that he had opened dialogue with investigators and would personally appear before them on Monday morning.
Mr Saraki had in the past week long played hide and seek game with the police over his invitation on account of an alleged N21billion loan scam.
In apparent frustration, the police declared him wanted Saturday, threatening to use maximum force to arrest him.
To legalize the action, the police sought and secured a court order to arrest him on Friday.
It was a sharp contrast to Mr Saraki’s claim last Tuesday when he misled the media that he had obtained a court order restraining the police from investigating and arresting him.
Detectives from the special fraud unit of the Nigerian police, on Friday, told Premium Times they were running out of patience with the lawmaker and considering use of “maximum force” to bring in for questioning over the loan scam.
They said Mr. Saraki appeared to be abusing his position to elude police invitation.
Over the past two weeks, the former governor, now a senator, has consistently evade invitations to answer questions in the investigation of the loan scam in which police say he is a key actor in – a crime the police say was committed during his time as governor of Kwara state.
Police believes Mr. Saraki illicitly obtained the loan from the defunct Intercontinental Bank through a proxy company, Joy Petroleum, owned by his late aide, Matthew Obahor.
“SFU may not hesitate to apply maximum force to bring him (Mr Saraki) in for questioning,” Joy Isinume, the special force’s spokesperson told Premium Times.
Mr. Saraki, through his counsels, Saka Isiaku and Lawal Rabana, had filed a suit seeking to restrain the police from arresting him but Justice Gladys Olotu ruled against him, while agreeing with the argument of the police counsel, Femi Falana, that regardless of Mr Saraki’s rights to liberty, the police has the power to arrest, investigate, and prosecute him upon reasonable suspicion that he has committed a criminal offense.
In press statements, Mr Saraki had repeatedly claimed he had no hand in the said scam and that he had no relationship with the company, Joy Petroleum, used to move the money in contention.
Mr Saraki also argues that he has been over-investigated in the case.
The police, however, insist that records point in the direction of Mr Saraki as a key character in the scam.
The police say they are after Mr Saraki to solve the puzzles in the case, particularly the revelations from Joy Petroleum’s account which indicate credit transfers made after the sole operator of the account, Mr Obahor, a former aide of Mr. Saraki, was long deceased.
The police also seeks to understand how a debt of N9.7 billion was dramatically written off the same account that in turn was closed by one Abdul Adamu, who they found out to be an aide of Mr Saraki.
While Mr. Saraki consistently claims he holds no relationship with Joy Petroleum, the police say one of the puzzles he will resolve when in their custody is how the head office of the company on No. 30 Saka Tinubu street, Victoria Island, Lagos belongs to Mr Saraki.
Among other puzzles the police say Mr Saraki will be grilled for is why the names in the bank documentations for the loan included his wife’s, Toyin, and his former commissioner of Finance and current governor of Kwara state, Abdufattah Ahmed.
Mr. Saraki apologists claim he is a victim of state persecution on account of his alleged stance against the removal of fuel subsidy and his presumed ambition to contest for presidency in 2015.
They, however, say nothing of his role in the loan scam and the alleged criminal implications of his role.
Read Senator Saraki’s press release below
Abuja Nigeria- Today Senator Saraki received the report that despite the court proceeding that was adjourned by Honorable Justice Gladys Olotu on Thursday 26th of April 2012 officers of Special Fraud Unit have declared him wanted.
Senator Saraki had earlier established dialogue with the SFU of the Nigeria Police Force in response to their request to assist them in their ongoing investigations into a transaction between Intercontinental Bank and a company, Joy Petroleum. While he has no connection with the aforementioned company, Senator Saraki has consistently assured of his willingness to avail the investigative agency of any information they feel will assist their task, provided the agency furnishes him with the basis on which they want to keep inviting him as he had already gone through these procedures on numerous occasions previously.
Senator Saraki will like to remind the public he has not done anything wrong and was only exercising his constitutional rights by asking the court to intervene in defining whether the force was following the regular police procedure in line with the manner with which they are handling the investigation.
Senator Saraki assures Nigerians that he maintains that he has not contravened the laws of Nigeria, and while awaiting the decision of the Abuja High Court on May 22nd 2012, he will nonetheless be making himself available to assist the SFU at the appropriate office 9am Monday morning on 30th April 2012.