Mr. Saraki, who is now a Nigerian Senator, is sought as part of the anti-fraud unit’s investigation of questionable decisions taken by Layi Alabi, an ex-CEO of InterContinental Bank. The bank executive was arrested yesterday by the anti-fraud over allegations that he wrote off huge sums of loans the bank had made to the former governor and several of his businesses.
Our source revealed that the bank’s former managing director, Erastus Akingbola, has made two appearances at the unit’s headquarters to be interrogated and to provide information about Mr. Alabi’s crooked moves. Mr. Akingbola himself is a rogue banker who reportedly siphoned billions of naira of the bank’s assets to his personal accounts. He fled to the UK when Nigerian authorities sought his indictment, and was recently acquitted of fraud charges owing to inept prosecution by lawyers representing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Another police source told SaharaReporters that Mr. Alabi would be released tonight on bail in keeping with a policy of not holding suspects beyond 48 hours. Even so, Mr. Alabi is expected to report back to the police on Monday to face further questions or possible charges depending on the direction of Mr. Saraki’s cooperation.
In a nine-page petition in 2010, Mr. Akingbola, the former MD of InterContinental Bank, disclosed to President Goodluck Jonathan that Mr. Alabi had improperly written off N8 billion in loans to companies with links to Mr. Saraki. He gave the companies’ names as Linkers, Dicetrade, Skyview Properties and Joy Petroleum.
Yesterday, Senator Saraki wrote a rejoinder in which he denied owning Joy Petroleum. He claimed that the company belonged to his late personal assistant, Matthew Obahor. But a source close to the late Mr. Obahor told SaharaReporters that the senator’s former aide could not have owned a multibillion-naira company. Mr. Obahor’s relatives have also asserted in petitions that he was used as an unwilling front for the former governor. “How can somebody who worked as an assistant to Dr. Bukola Saraki have the means to own a company with billions of naira in operating assets?” a source in the family asked.
Mr. Obahor’s family has also alleged that he was killed in a scheme to cover up a scam running into billions of naira. However, Mr. Saraki insisted that Obahor died of natural causes.SaharaReporters