• Thursday, July 18, 2024
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Paris Club Fraud: Buhari weaponised legal system to persecute me – Saraki


Bukola Saraki, a Nigeria former senate president has said the Paris Club Fraud allegations leveled against him was an attempt to soil his political career and tarnish his reputation by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.

The former lawmaker made this claim known while reacting to the supreme court verdict overturning a federal court judgement that said Melrose General Services should forfeit N1,222,384,857.84 to the federal government.

Saraki on his X account (formerly Twitter) on Friday described the case as a “proxy war” that used Melrose “as a mere pawn” to “victimise and persecute” him.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had on April 27, 2018 secured a judgment for the final forfeiture of N1.5 billion which Melrose General Services Limited, obtained from the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) through false claims.

The firm, unsatisfied with the verdict, challenged the judgment of the court of appeal ordering the forfeiture of the money to Nigeria’s government.

The supreme court panel led by Justice Akomaye Agim (SC 1519/2019) set aside the verdicts of the lower courts and ruled in favour of Melrose General Services on Friday.

“As much as this case was between the EFCC and Melrose General Services Limited, it was a proxy war, with Melrose serving as a mere pawn in a larger scheme to victimise and persecute me. It was always clear that this case was a thinly veiled attempt by the Buhari administration to weaponise the legal system for political gain,” Saraki said.

“The allegations of “Paris Club Fraud” were nothing more than a smokescreen designed to weaken the institution of my office, undermine my political career, and tarnish my reputation through spurious accusations similar to the Code of Conduct Tribunal, which also acquitted me of all charges,” the two-time Kwara governor added.

Commending the judiciary for their diligence in ensuring that justice prevailed, Saraki thanked Melrose’s legal team for their tireless efforts in bringing the case to a just conclusion.

“Moving forward, we all have to canvas for fairness in the fight against corruption. We should see this verdict as an inspiration to champion the rule of law, promote democracy and its institutions, and tolerate divergent views,” Saraki said.