Former Senate President, Bukola Saraki has revealed why the suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu went after him with zeal to prosecute him.
Saraki said Magu decided to take the fight against him personal because the eight National Assembly did not confirm his appointment as substantive EFCC Chairman.
The former Senate President was reacting to his victory against the EFCC at the Federal High Court in Lagos.
Justice Rilwan M. Aikawa had dismissed in its totality the application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for forfeiture order on Saraki’s home in Ilorin, Kwara State.
He said the last five years had been very challenging for him and his family, as he had endured and defeated one false allegation and malicious litigation after another, in an ill-motivated persecution, intimidation and harassment, through which some vested interests sought to damage his name and label him with charges of corruption.
“But with the grace of Allah, I have always been victorious. I thank God for the outcome of this case which is the fifth victory in cases in which the EFCC was either the main investigating agency or the plaintiff.
“It is obvious that the EFCC leadership under its erstwhile acting chair, Mr. Ibrahim Mustapha Magu decided to take the issue of his non-confirmation by the 8th Senate which I led, personally. However, I know that the Senate under my leadership only followed the due and normal procedure during the confirmation process and we never executed any personal agenda against Magu.
“The records of the Senate during the period is there for the perusal of all Nigerians interested in the truth. I hope that with the outcome of today’s case, the EFCC learns that a serious issue like the fight against corruption should not be reduced to a forum-shopping means to execute a personal vendetta or prosecute a parochial agenda.
“Fighting corruption and combating economic crime requires stakeholders to eschew coercion while employing upright diligence, due process, fairness, equity and broad mindedness in dealing with all cases and persons. The deployment of a state institution to fight a personal and partisan battle, particularly with the use of the mass and social media as championed by the EFCC was aimed at inflicting damage to my name, reputation and elective public service record, through a targeted misinformation and disinformation campaign of calumny, also directed at intimidating the judiciary,” he stated.
According to Saraki, it was directed at giving the wrong impression about him, as he recorded yet another vindication by the competent court of law, saying that God’s willing, his focus would now shift to more serious issues.
He said it was the grace of Allah and the support of his family that saw him through these past trying years, stressing that his family members had withstood with courage, candor, resilience and grace the war of attrition which was also directed at them.
Saraki said it was important to put it on record that he held no grudge against any individual for their roles in his trials, as his experience in the last five years had only strengthened his faith in Almighty Allah, the Nigerian nation and her judiciary which had always risen above the din to give justice at all times and in all situation.
“Definitely, I remain unflinching in my belief that we need to build a functional society which creates the right atmosphere for all to aspire to be whatever positive they desire.
“At this point, let me strongly express my support for the anti-corruption war and the institutions created to prosecute this war. My antecedents show that I have always sponsored and backed initiatives in this direction. I was part of the team that initiated the enactment of the Fiscal Responsibility Act and Public Procurement Act under the Obasanjo administration. As Governor of Kwara State, my government was the first state to introduce the Price Intelligence Unit and was also the first state to submit our financial process for rating by Fitch, the global rating agency.
“As a member of the 7th Senate, I sponsored the motion which exposed the monumental fraud in fuel subsidy payments while the 8th Senate under my leadership passed five different bills aimed at strengthening the fight against corruption, particularly the law that created the National Financial Intelligence Agency (NFIA),” he said.