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EFCC Pounces on Saraki, Seizes Houses in Lagos

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has seized some houses belonging to Senate President Bukola Saraki, reports SUNDAY PUNCH.

The houses, which are located at 15a, 15b and 17 MacDonald Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, are said to belong to Saraki.

However, the EFCC was said to be unsure of which of the properties that actually belong to the Senate President and decided to place inscriptions and stickers on all of them.

While 15a and 15b were declared by Saraki in his asset declaration form, it is believed that some other houses on the street were bought by the Senate President from the Presidential Implementation Committee for the Sales of Government Property through shell companies.

His relative, who did not want to be named, told The Punch that the houses were seized on Friday.

He said, “The EFCC had been making inquiries into the finances and assets of Saraki for quite some time. They came to inscribe ‘EFCC, Under Investigation’ in red on the walls and the fences. The irony is that even houses that don’t belong to Saraki were marked.

“From what we were told, they are keeping him under strict surveillance ahead of May 29, 2019 when they may invite him.”

The EFCC had, while presenting evidence against Saraki before the Code of Conduct Tribunal in 2016, alleged that he owned houses on MacDonald Road but there were discrepancies in the addresses.

The EFCC witness, Michael Wetkas, had said investigation revealed that House No. 15 MacDonald Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, and Block 15 Flat 1 to 4 on the same street belonged to Saraki.

According to him, the Senate President bought the properties from the Presidential Committee on Sale of Federal Government Landed Properties in Lagos through his companies.

He added that the defendant made a bank draft in the name of TYNITY Company Limited, which he declared in the asset declaration form.

Wetkas noted that when the EFCC investigation team wrote to the presidential committee seeking clarification, the committee said from their records, the only property sold to the company was No. 15 Macdonald Street, Ikoyi.

Wetkas said 75 per cent, which amounted to N123.7m was paid for House No. 15 MacDonald Road, Ikoyi, through a bank draft from the account of one of Saraki’s company called Skyview Properties Limited in Access Bank.

He also said investigation revealed that Saraki made a bank draft through his company TYNITY and paid for House No. 17 MacDonald Road in Ikoyi, Lagos, in the sum of N256.3m.

The witness had said, “My lord, there was a draft of N12.8m and another draft of N20m from Zenith Bank as well as a draft of N4m from GTBank as part of payment for the purchase of House No. 17 MacDonald Street.

“The N20m draft came from Carlys properties and Investment Limited and a draft of 136.1m was made on January 13, 2007 for the purchase of same property.

“Another draft of N180.6m was made through Saraki’s personal bank account in GTB.’’

The EFCC last week announced a probe into the activities of the Senate President dating back to 2003 when he became the governor of Kwara State.

The commission had written a letter to the Kwara State Government House, asking for the details of all of Saraki’s earnings including salaries, allowances and estacode during his eight years as governor.

The Punch

 

 

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Peter Obi Chides FG, Says Poverty on the Increase, Unemployment Rising

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The presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 election, Peter Obi, has criticized Nigerian leaders for their misplaced priorities amidst the country’s declining economic fortune. Obi, in a social media statement, noted that Nigeria’s GDP growth rate plummeted from 6.72% between 1999-2014 to 2.79% in 2015, followed by a recession in 2016 with a negative growth rate of -1.58% and 0.82% in 2017.

He lamented that the country’s economy has regressed significantly over the past nine years, with Nigeria losing its position as Africa’s largest economy. He said, “When Nigeria returned to democratic governance in 1999, it maintained an average GDP growth of about 6.72% for 16 years from 1999-2014. The impressive growth trajectory, unfortunately, was not sustained by the then-new government and our GDP growth collapsed to 2.79% in 2015 and then sank into a recession in 2016 with a negative growth of -1.58% and 0.82% in 2017. For the past 9 years, Nigeria’s economy has seen unprecedented retrogression on many fronts.

“In 2014, just before the inception of a new administration a year later, Nigeria had the biggest economy in Africa with a Gross Domestic Product of $568.5 billion and a GDP Per Capita of about $3,200.

“Our economic indices pointed towards hope and prospects for the future growth of the economy. Nine years later, the giant of Africa has retrogressed to the 4th largest economy in Africa.

“Reports showed our GDP in 2023 stood at $375 billion with a per capita of $1700. In 2024, our estimated GDP declined further to $253 billion with an estimated per capita of $1087. These trends and figures show how our 9 years journey since 2015 has resulted in a sharp decline in our national prosperity.”

He added, “Today, poverty is pervasive and on the increase. Unemployment is rising. Food inflation has skyrocketed to over 43%.

Foreign and local investors are losing faith in the future growth of our economy and are leaving in large numbers.

“Businesses are shutting down. Urgent actions need to be taken to salvage the nation from further economic collapse and move it from consumption to production.” Instead of addressing these pressing issues, Obi accused leaders of prioritizing their selfish luxuries and lavishness while blaming others for the country’s problems.

According to him, politics should focus on serving the people and bettering society, committing to inclusive and sustainable growth to alleviate hardship and achieve a peaceful and secure society.

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Aftermath of Monopoly Allegation: Dangote Offers to Sell Refinery to NNPC

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Africa’s wealthiest man Aliko Dangote said he is willing to give up ownership of his multibillion-dollar oil refinery to the state-owned energy company NNPC Limited.

The billionaire spoke as a new dispute with one of the key equity partners in the plant heats up in the latest phase of a bitter row with regulatory authorities in Nigeria.

The 650,000 barrel-per-day refinery, which came to life last year after a decade of prolonged construction, cost $19 billion, more than double the initial estimate, promising to help wean Africa’s biggest oil producer off its reliance on fuel from overseas and save up 30 per cent of the total foreign exchange spent on importing goods.

“Let them (NNPCL) buy me out and run the refinery the best way they can. They have labelled me a monopolist. That’s an incorrect and unfair allegation, but it’s OK. If they buy me out, at least, their so-called monopolist would be out of the way,” Mr Dangote told PREMIUM TIMES in an exclusive interview on Sunday.

“We have been facing fuel crisis since the 70s. This refinery can help in resolving the problem but it does appear some people are uncomfortable that I am in the picture. So I am ready to let go, let the NNPC buy me out, run the refinery.”

The multisectoral investor’s big bet on oil and gas, which he ventured into following years of relatively stress-free dominance of Nigeria’s cement, salt and sugar industries, is turning out problematic in its early days.

Set for its first roll-out of petrol to the Nigerian market in August, the mammoth plant has been operating just above half its capacity since the January start of refining operations, constrained in part by difficulties in sourcing crude from international producers.

Dangote Refinery said those companies are either demanding outrageous premiums before agreeing to supply crude or simply claiming the product is unavailable.

NNPC, once a sweetheart of the refiner before the current dispute soured relations, had delivered only 6.9 million barrels of oil to the plant as of May since last year, according to S&P Global Platts, a tracker of supply data.

NNPC Limited has a supply deal with the company dating back to the commencement of operations and previously agreed to a 20 per cent equity participation, the refinery saying only 7.2 per cent has been fully paid for before the deadline issued to the company to acquire the stake.

Starving the refinery of the feedstock required to keep it running at present capacity means it has turned to countries like Brazil and the US to bridge the gulf in supply.

“As you probably know, I am 67 years old, in less than three years, I will be 70. I need very little to live the rest of my life. I can’t take the refinery or any other property or asset to my grave. Everything I do is in the interest of my country,” Mr Dangote told PREMIUM TIMES.

“This refinery can help in resolving the problem but it does appear some people are uncomfortable that I am in the picture. So I am ready to let go, let the NNPC buy me out, run the refinery. At least the country will have high-quality products and create jobs,” he added.

Mr Dangote said the obstacles his refinery is facing seem to have vindicated friends and associates who conselled him to tread with caution as he pumped billions of dollars into the Nigerian economy.

“Four years ago, one of my very wealthy friends began to invest his money abroad. I disagreed with him and urged him to rethink his action in the interest of his country. He blamed his action on policy inconsistencies and shenanigans of interest groups. That friend has been taunting me in the past few days, saying he warned me and that he has been proven right,” the businessman said.

Culled from Premium Times

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Media Office Alleges Plot to Arrest Peter Obi by Tinubu’s Govt

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The Peter Obi Media Reach has refuted allegations made by the presidential spokesman, Bayo Onanuga, linking the 2023 Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, to a planned protest.

The media office described the allegations as wild, wicked and baseless, saying that the presidency was planning to use the planned protest to arrest Obi.

In a lengthy post on his verified X handle on Saturday, Onanuga claimed that Obi’s supporters are behind the planned nationwide protests against the Tinubu administration.

The presidential aide said Obi and his supporters should be held responsible for any mayhem that may occur in the protest, alleging that “they are not democrats but anarchists.”

Onanuga accused the protest organisers of lacking the patience to wait for another election in 2027 and instead, “destabilise Nigeria by staging a civilian coup against President Bola Tinubu.”

He claimed that those organising the protests were also behind the ENDSARS protest of October 2020, which later turned violent and urged security agents to interrogate the “agents of destabilisation” behind the demonstrations.

However, in a statement issued by its spokesman, Yunusa Tanko, on Saturday, the media office said the “unsubstantiated allegations are being orchestrated to arrest Obi and limit his freedom and association”.

Tanko also stated that the allegation was an attempt to stop Obi’s propagation of good governance, which the presidency found injurious to their lavish lifestyle.

He added that the former Governor of Anambra State has not in any way shown or been associated with violence, even in the most obvious provocations.

The statement reads, “The attention of the Peter Obi Media Reach, POMR, has been drawn to the wild, wicked and baseless allegations by one of the Spokespersons in the Presidency, Bayo Onanuga, accusing the Labour Party’s Presidential Candidate in the 2023 elections, Peter Obi, of being the mastermind of a planned protest in the country.

“The statement even said that Obi should be held responsible for any mayhem that may occur in the protest. But POMR can report from good and reliable authority that these unsubstantiated allegations are being orchestrated to arrest Obi, limit his freedom and association and stop his propagation for good governance which they find injurious to their lavish lifestyle.

“Peter Obi, by his mien in and out of political office, has not in any way shown or been associated with violence even in the most obvious provocations. He has always shown, even during the electioneering, that he is issue-driven as he carries on without calling anybody’s name.

“POMR is also aware that multiple attack dogs have been hired and strategically deployed to ensure that Obi does not enjoy the ear of the Nigerian populace who are keen on hearing his voice on issues.

“These spine doctors and hirelings, to justify their pay, indulge in all kinds of falsehood ostensibly to distract Obi and confuse Nigerians who already see Obi as a suiting balm in the current turbulent political and economic environment.”

The media team urged Nigerians to ignore the Presidency’s cheap blackmail as Obi and his supporters all over the country and in the diaspora remain resolute in their search for a new Nigeria.

“It added, “All the problems, real and imagined, created by their insensitivity and lavish lifestyle they have curiously tried to link to Obi. Notable challenges of the administration, which are a consequence of their actions and inactions like fuel subsidy fallouts, growing poverty in the land, inflation, nepotism and unresolved historical conflicts, among others they blame all on Obi.

“POMR, therefore, wishes to urge Nigerians to ignore the Presidency’s cheap blackmail as Obi and the Obidient family all over the country and in the diaspora remain resolute in their search for a new Nigeria that is possible and would not be cowed or be made to lose focus.”

The Punch

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