By Emmanuel IFFER, Abuja
There appears to be more trouble for the nation’s number three citizen, Senate President, Bukola Saraki documents have linked him to serial transfers totaling $3.47 million in 40 installments in four years with his credit card to the United States.
Details indicate that the transactions sailed through with Guaranty Trust Bank between 2009, when he served as Kwara State governor, and 2012 when he served as the senator representing Kwara Central Senatorial District, even as he equally owned the beneficiary accounts.
Some of the senator’s companies, during the same period, also transferred thousands of dollars to the U.S. accounts. The companies are Carlisle Properties and West Gate Ltd.
Mr. Saraki is currently facing a 13-count charge bordering on corruption and false assets declaration at the Code of Conduct Tribunal. He allegedly committed the offence when he served as governor between 2003 and 2011.
The politician has denied any wrongdoing and alleged political persecution.
Of the 13-count charges filed against the senate president, two are related to the transfer of the $3.47 million.
Count 11 of the charges filed against Mr. Saraki states: That you, DR. OLUBUKOLA ABUBAKAR SARAKI on or about 25th August, 2008 within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Tribunal, while being a public officer as the Executive Governor of Kwara State did operate a bank account outside Nigeria when you transferred the sum of $73, 223.28 (Seventy Three Thousand, Two Hundred and Twenty-Three Thousand Dollars, Twenty-Eight cents) from your Guaranty Trust Bank Plc domiciliary account No 441441953210 to the American Express Services Europe Limited No: 730580 for onward credit to your American Express Bank, New York card account No:374588216836009 and you thereby committed an offence contrary to paragraph 3 of Part I, Fifth Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and Section 7 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act and punishable under paragraph 9 of the said Fifth Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and section 23 (2) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act.
Count 12 states: That you, DR. OLUBUKOLA ABUBAKAR SARAKI between August, 2009 and October 2012 within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Tribunal, while being a public officer as the Executive Governor of Kwara State and Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria did operate a bank account outside Nigeria when you transferred the aggregate sum of $3, 400, 000.00 (Three Million, Four Hundred Thousand Dollars) from your Guaranty Trust Bank Plc. domiciliary account No 441441953210 to the American Express Services Europe Limited no: 730580 for onward credit to your American Express Bank, New York card account No:374588216836009 and you thereby committed an offence contrary to paragraph 3 of Part I, Fifth Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and section 7 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act and punishable under paragraph 9 of the said Fifth Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and section 23 (2) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act.
A prosecution witness had told the CCT that documents related to the transfer were destroyed in an inferno.
When being cross examined by the defence counsel, Paul Usoro, at the Tribunal last Tuesday, the prosecution witness, Michael Wetkas, said Guaranty Trust Bank, GTB, told the investigation team that the transaction documents had been burnt.
“There were also police reports and affidavit which they (the GTB) swore to show that some documents were burnt,” Mr. Wetkas stated.
The document, obtained exclusively by PREMIUM TIMES, shows that Mr. Saraki, on August 26, 2009, transferred the $72,223.25 to the American Express Services Europe Limited no: 730580 for onward credit to the American Express Bank, New York card account No:374588216836009.
Following the transfer, the bank charged him a commission of $732.23. It is not clear what the money transferred was meant for.
That same day (August 26) one of his companies, Carlisle Properties Investment, transferred another $49,969.00.
Between September 2009 and October 2012, Mr. Saraki transferred over $3 million.
According to the document, in 2009 the senate president transferred $127,174.05 on September 8; $85,543.88 on October 21; and $127,586.41 on November 11.
In 2010, he transferred $140,319 on January 4; $140,000 on March 15; $84,000 on April 16; $134,000 on May 18; $64,000 on June 21; $80,984 on July 29; $100,000 on August 31; $18,000 on September 2; $$48,900 on October 11; and $183,232.46 on December 8;
In 2011, Mr. Saraki transferred $32,687 on February 21; $30,656.74 on March 22; $111,444.79 on June 22; $43, 651 on July 19; $91,738 on August 16; $10,000 on August 26; $65,000 on August 29; $112,140 on September 27; $147,000 on November 17; and $86,872.10 on December 14.
The document also shows that in 2012, he transferred $50,000 on January 4; $145,000 on January 27; $7000 on January 27; $94,754.63 on February 10; $60,000 on April 12; $70,000 on May 11; $55,000 on May 17; $89,411.74 on June 12; $45,000 on September 6; and $45,308 on September 24; $130,000 on October 11; $77,000 on February 17; $77,000 on February 20; $70,648.44 on March 29; $70,000 on July 4; $138,000 on July 16; and $45,000 on September 5.
Just as Mr. Saraki was making the transactions, his companies were also transferring monies to the U.S. totalling $2,099,257.00.
For instance, apart from the August 26 transfer in 2009, Carlisle also transferred $59,964 on September 7; $99,961.30 on October 16; $109,000 on November 11; $50,000 on August 12; and $150,000 on December 31.
Meanwhile, a civil society group, Citizens United for Peace and Stability (CUPS), the organizers of proposed demonstration against the Senate President and his supporters billed for April 26, and OccupyNASS said it is receiving overwhelming support and that last Saturday alone, Nigerians donated a total of N183,500 towards actualizing the historic #OccupyNASS and#ReclaimNigeria movement even as they claim the drive has gone global.
“The largest donor donated N30,000,” the group said in the statement, signed by Dr. Idris Ahmed & Dr. Bunmi Awoyemi.
“Other patriots donated N20,000, N10,000, N5,000, N2,000, N1,500 and N1,000. A total of 26 compatriots made the donations. This means that in five days’ time we are able to raise one million, two hundred and fifty-six thousand Naira! – N1,256,000.”
It explained that following due consultations with Nigerian organisations in Diaspora, the group decided to extend the #OccupyNASS and #ReclaimNigeria event to a global affair.
“This means that we will be demonstrating against Bukola Saraki and his cabal around the globe on the same 26th April.”
CUPS reassured concerned Nigerians that the Police Act, which sought to empower the Police to issue permission for demonstrations, has been deemed unconstitutional by the Federal Court of Appeal.
“According to the law, all that is required from us to host a peaceful protest is to inform the Inspector General of Police or state Police Commissioner that we are embarking on a peaceful demonstration, and that we need the Police to provide security,” the statement said, adding that CUPS has already done that, and also written to the DG of the Department of State Security, the Minister of FCTA, and the FRSC Marshal.
Stressing that the plan to host the historic event is well underway, the group appealed to Nigerians to donate generously to its corporate to enable the dream to be actualized, pointing out that no donation is too big or too small.
“Every single Naira donated counts towards providing food, water, shelter, medical care, and other facilities to peaceful demonstrators,” it said, noting that donating to support peaceful demonstrators at #OccupyNASS is one of the best charitable acts that any patriotic Nigerian can do.
“Think about it, our mere plan to occupy the NASS is already yielding impressive results at the Senate,” CUPs said. “They recently capitulated on their unlawful attempt to amend our constitution.”