A report submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has linked Senate President Bukola Saraki and at least three of his aides in the ongoing probe of the alleged diversion of N19bn from the N522.74bn Paris Club refund shared among governors, PUNCH reports.
The report claimed that Saraki, in alleged connivance with the Nigerian Governor’s Forum (NGF) laundered the said sum through private consultants.
Some of Saraki’s aides under probe include Obiora Amobi, Gbenga Makanjuola, Kolawole Shittu and Oladapo Idowu.
Also under probe is Kathleen Erhimu, Saraki’s Relationship Manager at Access Bank.
Robert Mbonu of Melrose General Services Company was also indicted in the report. Mbonu was a former Managing Director of the defunct Societe Generale Bank of Nigeria, owned by Saraki’s family.
The report added that Saraki called a meeting between Mbonu and Erhimu in December 2016, which had in attendance the aforementioned aides.
The report added that after the meeting, N3.5bn was transferred to the account of Melrose General Services Company in Access Bank from NGF on December 14.
It adds that Saraki’s aides, Obiora and Gbenga were introduced as staff of Melrose General Services Company, and they were able to make several withdrawals in tranches of N5m and N10m.
“Based on the foregoing findings, it is clear that Robert Mbonu, the Managing Director of Melrose General Services Company and his company were used to help divert proceeds of unlawful activities under the guise of payment for contractual obligations with the Nigeria Governors Forum.
Suffice to apprise that all payments received by Melrose General Services Company from the NGF have hitherto been diverted directly via cash withdrawals and indirectly through transfers by Gbenga Peter Makanjuola, Kolawole Shittu and Oladapo Joseph Idowu, who are principal aides to the Senate President.
Furthermore, other payments from Melrose General Services Company have also been linked to companies that Dr. Bukola Saraki has interest in and carries out transactions with.
This includes the sum of $183,000, which was transferred to Bhaska Devji Jewellers, Dubai, a company Dr. Bukola Saraki had repeatedly made payments to.
Also, the sum of N200m was transferred to Wasp Networks Limited that subsequently transferred the sum of N170m to Xtract Energy Services Limited, a company that routinely made deposits into Dr. Saraki’s Access Bank US Dollar Domiciliary account,” the report adds.
According to The Nation, an EFCC source said:
This agency has frozen more than 15 accounts used to divert the N19billion remitted into the account of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF).
Some of these accounts include those of Bureau De Change, companies, mortgage firms, and personal types.
We have been able to recover some money from these frozen accounts. Also, some bankers have made useful statements to this commission.
Yusuph Olaniyonu, the Special Adviser to the Senate President Media and Publicity), when contacted to react to the report said:
“Send the report to me and I will be able to read it and contact the necessary people. If I don’t see the report, I cannot react to it in abstract. Send me the report if you want our reaction.”