The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has presented before President Muhammadu Buhari details of how the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and his aides allegedly laundered up to N3.5 billion from the Paris Club loan refund.
It is understood that no fewer than 15 accounts of some individuals and companies have been frozen following months of investigation as the detectives of the premier anti-graft agency submitted the damning report to the president on March 10, 2017 – few days before the senate rejected its chairman Ibrahim Magu’s nomination a second time.
In the report, the EFCC narrated how Mr. Saraki, using his deputy chief of staff and other aides, laundered N3.5 billion that he allegedly received from the Paris Club loan refund to state governors.
The EFCC was also quoted as saying it is probing, apart from Saraki’s aides, a former Heritage Bank Executive Director Mr. Robert Mbonu, and three others on how the cash was wired into some accounts.
The EFCC, in the report, revealed how Mr. Saraki, in 2016, introduced Gbenga Makanjuola, a former lawmaker who now serves as his deputy chief of staff, to Kathleen Erhimu, an Access Bank staff.
The EFCC identified Ms. Erhimu as Mr. Saraki’s relationship manager at Access Bank.
Mr. Makanjuola later worked with Mbonu, a former managing director of Heritage Bank, whose firm, Melrose General Services Limited, was said to have served as consultant to the Nigerian Governors’ Forum.
The anti-corruption agency also told President Buhari that Mr. Mbonu received N3.5 billion in mid-December 2016, part of which was later transferred to accounts and persons linked to the senate president.
“A prima facie case of conspiracy to retain the proceeds of unlawful activities and money laundering contrary to Sections 15(3) and 18(9) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2004 can be established against the aforementioned suspects,” the EFCC told Mr. Buhari in the report.
“Additionally, investigation into their personal accounts is ongoing.”