Justice Gladys Olotu of the Federal High Court, Abuja, was on Wednesday told how former governor of Kwara State, Bukola Saraki, planned to escape from the country in a bid to dodge police arrest and interrogation.
Mr. Femi Falana, attorney for the police, made this claim in rejection of assertions made by Mr. Saraki’s lawyers that the police set out, in late April, to tarnish the records and name of a good man by issuing a warrant of arrest and for Mr. Saraki.
Mr. Falana told the court at the resumed hearings of Mr. Saraki’s motion to halt a police arrest and investigation regarding his role in a N21 Billion loam scam, that the former governor, who is now a serving senator, had planned to escape from the country after an elaborate hide and seek game and that the police was therefore forced to issue the warrant after a frustrating attempt to bring him in to help an ongoing investigations that had so many connections to him.
The police lawyer did not indicate which country Mr. Saraki was planning to escape to, but aviation sources who could not be named for this story told PREMIUM TIMES that Mr. Saraki had planned to travel to South Africa but shelved his plans when it appeared to him that he had been placed on a security watch list.
“The embarrassment would have been huge were he not to have shelved his plans and just Imagine the headlines to say Saraki being stopped from boarding” he commented rhetorically.
Justice Gladys Olotu however frowned at the police style, saying they could have sought and obtained a court order to arrest the former governor rather than do it in the media. She nevertheless dismissed Mr. Saraki’s motion with a cost.
Detectives, who sought Mr. Saraki, said they wanted to know what he had to do with revelations from one Joy Petroleum’s account which indicates credit transfers were made after the sole operator of the account, Mr Obahor, a former aide of Mr. Saraki, was long deceased.
The police also sought 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.
Mr. Saraki claimed he had no relationship with Joy Petroleum, the police said one of the puzzles they wanted him to help resolve was how the head office of the company on No. 30 Saka Tinubu street, Victoria Island, Lagos belongs to belongs to him and 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.
Mrs. Toyin Saraki herself was at the Special Fraud Unit of the Police this past Monday to make statement about her role in the scam.
While Mr. Saraki’s apologists were busy touting the claim that 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, the former governor rushed to court to try stop the police from arresting or questioning him.
At the Wednesday court hearings, Mr. Falana said the irony was laughable as Mr. Saraki, in April 1991, abused the same rights he is now seeking to promote. At the 1991 court hearing, he was sanctioned for abuse of court process.