Tag: Saraki

NIGERIA: SENATE PRESIDENT SARAKI TO EXPLAIN SENATORS’ N3BN ANNUAL SALARY TO NIGERIANS

Senate President Bukola Saraki is set to disclose details of the salaries and allowances of Nigerian Senators to the “inquisitive” public.

Saraki on Tuesday sent an invitation to representatives of the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) to his attend his office in Abuja on Thursday for full disclosure of senators salaries and allowances.

In a statement, SERAP Deputy Director Timothy Adewale said “We are pleased to accept the invitation from the Senate President to visit the National Assembly to discuss matters of public interest following SERAP’’s letter to Saraki to disclose details of salaries and allowances of members of the Senate,”

He added “We will use the opportunity of the face-to-face meeting to ask pertinent questions and seek detailed information and clarifications on the exact salaries and allowances that each senator receives monthly or yearly.”

The SERAP official explained that SERAP  was contacted by the Office of the Senate President to set up the meeting for Thursday following an earlier request to Saraki to  “urgently explain to Nigerians if it is true that a Nigerian Senator gets N29 million in monthly pay, and over N3 billion a year.”

The meeting, is scheduled for 1pm at the National Assembly Complex.

Mr Bamikole Omishore, the Special Adviser to Saraki on New Media, had said on Sunday in Abuja that he would contact SERAP and other CSOs for a meeting to give more details on the yearly earnings of senators.

Omishore said, “The attention of the office of the President of the Senate has been drawn to demand for more details regarding the earnings of senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Having released the breakdown of the National Assembly budget, the most comprehensive in the history of Nigerian Senate, it seems the release of pay slips is yet to clarify earnings of Nigerian senators.

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Nigerian Senators

“The Senate President has agreed to a roundtable with SERAP and other CSOs to enlighten them and answer genuine questions regarding the matter. I will make contact with SERAP and other CSOs for a date convenient for all parties in the next few days,” Mr. Omishore also said.

It would be recalled that Professor Itse Sagay, Chairman Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption (PACAC), had alleged that a Nigerian Senator gets N29 million in monthly pay. But the Senate has so far refused to confirm or deny this allegation.

Subsequently, SERAP wrote Saraki stating that, “The ‘sky will not fall’ if details of a Nigerian Senator’s salaries and allowances are published on a dedicated website. SERAP believes that releasing the information on salaries and allowances of members of the Senate would encourage a nuanced, evidence-based public debate on what would or should be a fair salary for a member of the Senate.”

The organization said that, “It is by making transparency a guiding principle of the National Assembly that the Senate can regain the support of their constituents and public trust, and contribute to ending the country’s damaging reputation for corruption.”

The statement further reads: “Transparency is a fundamental attribute of democracy, a norm of human rights, a tool to promote political and economic prosperity and to curb corruption. For the Senate, practising transparency should start with the leadership being open to Nigerians on the salaries and allowances of members.”

“SERAP strongly believes that it is by knowing exactly how much their lawmakers earn as salaries and allowances that members of the National Assembly can remain accountable to Nigerians and our citizens can be assured that neither fraud nor government waste is concealed.”

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“If the Senate under your leadership is committed to serving the public interest, it should reaffirm its commitment to openness by urgently publishing details of salaries and allowances of members. But when the Senate leadership routinely denies access to information on matters as basic as salaries and allowances of our lawmakers because some exceptions or other privileges override a constitutional and statutory disclosure requirement, open government would seem more like a distant, deferred ideal than an existing practice.”

“The continuing refusal by the Senate to reveal concrete information about the salaries and allowances of their leadership and members could ultimately endanger the healthy development of a rule-of-law state.”

“SERAP is concerned that the Senate seems to consider releasing concrete information about salaries and allowances of members to be at best a burden and, at worst, a threat to their legislative functions. Releasing information on your salaries and allowances would not interfere with your law-making functions. In fact, doing so would improve public confidence in the ability and legitimacy of the Senate to perform those functions and make laws for the peace, order and good governance of the Federation.”

“By permitting access to information on your members’ salaries and allowances long shielded unnecessarily from public view, the Senate would be moving towards securing the confidence of Nigerians in the legislature. The Senate would also be establishing a more solid political base from which to perform its legislative duties and to fulfill its role in the balance of power within the Nigerian constitutional order.”

“Transparency is necessary for accountability, and helps to promote impartiality by suppressing self-interested official behavior. It also enables the free flow of information among public agencies and private individuals, allowing input, review, and criticism of government action, and thereby increases the quality of governance.”

The break down of the salaries and allowances as provided by Professor Sagay are as follows:

Basic salary N2,484,245.50;

Hardship allowance N1,242, 122.70;

Constituency allowance N4, 968, 509.00;

Furniture allowance N7, 452, 736.50;

Newspaper allowance N1, 242, 122.70.

Wardrobe allowance N621,061.37;

Recess allowance N248, 424.55;

Accommodation 4,968,509.00;

Utilities N828,081.83;

Domestic staff N1,863,184.12;

Entertainment N828,081.83;

Personal assistant N621,061.37;

Vehicle maintenance allowance N1,863,184.12; 

Leave allowance N248,424.55;

Severance gratuity N7, 425,736.50;

Motor vehicle allowance N9, 936,982.00.

 


 

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EFCC FORMALLY NAME SARAKI, OTHERS IN INVESTIGATION INTO EMBEZZLEMENT OF MULTI BILLION NAIRA PARIS CLUB LOANS REFUNDS

Officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have formally named Senate President Bukola Saraki, a former Managing Director of Heritage Bank, Robert Mbonu, a firm, Melrose General Services Limited, the relationship manager to Mr. Saraki, Kathleen Erhimu, the deputy Chief of Staff to Senator Saraki, Gbenga Peter Makanjuola, as targets of an investigation into the embezzlement of as much as N19 billion that accrued as refunds to state governments that had made excess payments on loans obtained from international lenders, the London and Paris Clubs.

Also named by the EFCC as players in the huge scandal are Kolawole Shittu, the supplier of a controversial Range Rover vehicle to Senator Saraki, as well as one Obiora Amobi and one Oladapo Joseph Idowu.

In a report forwarded to the Presidency and obtained by SaharaReporters, the EFCC wrote, “Mr. Robert Mbonu is alleged to have received the sum of N3.5 billion into his company’s account (Melrose General Services Limited) from the [Nigerian Governors’ Forum] through Account 0005892453 domiciled in Access Bank.” The report identified “one Kathleen Erhimu [as] the Relationship Manager to Dr. Bukola Saraki’s account with Access Bank.”

The elaborate EFCC report authenticates a series of reports in which SaharaReporters disclosed that Mr. Saraki as well as numerous governors colluded to pocket most of the billions of naira in refunds. Mr. Saraki had accused our website of fabricating the report, claiming that the EFCC was not investigating him in relation to the loan refund fraud. However, the document forwarded to the Presidency by the EFCC outlined Mr. Saraki’s deep involvement in the still unfolding embezzlement saga.

A part of the EFCC document reported that, at a meeting, Senator Saraki had “introduced one Joseph Oladapo Idowu and Gbenga Peter Makanjuola his deputy chief of staff to [Ms. Erhimu] and Makanjuola thereafter introduced Mr. Robert Mbonu to Ms. Kathleen Erhimu.” The EFCC told the Presidency that Mr. Mbonu operated corporate accounts for Melrose General Services at Access Bank. The accounts, listed as  0005892453 and 0005653500, were until December 13, 2016 operated as business accounts, according to the EFCC report.

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The report further disclosed that Halima Kyari, the head of “Private Banking Group” at Access Bank, “stated in a letter dated December 13, 2016, [that] Mr. Robert Mbonu requested a transfer of Melrose General Services Company account from Business Account to a Private Banking Group Platform as he was expecting huge funds into the account. SaharaReporters learned that Mr. Mbonu’s move was at the instance of Senator Saraki who desired the use of the Melrose General Services Company account to warehouse his cut of the funds that came from the London-Paris Club refunds.

The EFCC report stated, “Subsequently, on December 14, 2016, the sum of N3.5 billion was lodged into Melrose General Services Company account number 0005892453 domiciled with Access Bank from the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF).”

According to the anti-corruption agency, Mr. Mbonu subsequently introduced Mr. Amobi and Mr. Makanjuola to Access Bank as representatives of Melrose General Services Limited. The purpose of the introduction, the EFCC found, was to enable the two men to do cash withdrawals from the account. The report stated that Mr. Amobi and Mr. Makanjuola soon made several cash withdrawals in tranches of N5 million and N10 million.

The EFCC report stated that Mr. Mbonu also requested that one Oluyemi Braithwaite, the owner of Reinex Bureau de Change, Caddington Capital Limited and Westgate Limited, provide dollars in exchange for the naira-denominated withdrawals from the erstwhile Melrose account. Mr. Mbonu, a front for Senator Saraki, asked Ms. Braithwaite to hand over the dollars to one Mr. Gbenga in Abuja.

According to the EFCC, Ms. Oluyemi Braithwaite sought out one Hassan Dantani Abubakar, a cousin of former military head of state, Abdulsalam Abubakar, to produce the dollars in exchange for the naira provided by Mr. Mbonu. Dantani Abubakar’s role in the saga is significant in establishing another tie to Senator Saraki. Mr. Abubakar, who operates a bureau de change, has had a longstanding relationship with Mr. Saraki. In 2015, several members of the senator’s security detail conspired to steal N300m that Dantani Abubakar was moving for Mr. Saraki. Most of the security operatives, officers of the Department of State Security (DSS), were subsequently arrested when it was established that they ambushed the illicit funds being transported to the senator. The EFCC report stated that Ms. Braithwaite had, over the phone, introduced Mr. Mbonu to Mr. Abubakar. In addition to operating a bureau de change (BDC), Mr. Abubakar also owns several companies, including Hamma Procurement Limited, Ashrab Nigeria Limited and Inspire Solar Application.

The EFCC report added that, on December 16, 2016, Melrose paid the sum of N246 million into an account, No. 2030756168, held by Mr. Abubakar’s company, Hamma Procurement Limited, at First Bank. In return, Hamma Procurement released the sum of $500,000 to one Mr. Gbenga in Abuja. Mr. Gbenga, an aide to Mr. Saraki, acknowledged receipt of the same amount, said the EFCC.

According to the anti-corruption agency, “on the 21st December, 2016, Ms. Oluyemi Braithwaite contacted Hassan Dantani Abubakar requesting for another transaction of $370,000. Melrose General Services Company transferred the sum of N181m to Inspire Solar Application. The $370,000 was handed over to one Mr. Dapo in Abuja.”

Providing more details of the intricate maneuvers used by Senator Saraki to move funds, the EFCC report noted: “That on the January 4th, 2017, Mbonu through Melrose General Services Company transferred the sum of N248, 500,000 to Caddington Capital Limited belonging to Ms. Oluyemi Braithwaite who transferred same to Hassan Dantani Abubakar’s FCMB account, Ashrab Nigeria Limited for the sum of $500,000. The dollar equivalent was handed over to Mr. Kolawole Shittu in Abuja an amount reportedly used to purchase a bulletproof Range Rover luxury car recently seized by the Nigerian Customs.

 

READ MORE AT: EFCC TO INVESTIGATE SARAKI, OTHERS ON PARIS CLUB LOAN REFUNDS EMBEZZLEMENT

SAHARAREPORTERS

SARAKI DENIES LINK TO SIEZED VEHICLES IN HAMEED ALLI SAGA

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has denied links to a car seized by the Nigerian Customs Service.

In a statement on Tuesday, Mr. Saraki’s spokesperson, Yusuph Olaniyonu, said the allegation of importation of the vehicle by Mr. Saraki “lacked basis and was an outright falsehood”.

“From the facts and documents about the seized vehicle, it is obvious that the President of the Senate has nothing to do with the importation of any vehicle.

“A supplier was engaged by the Senate to supply a vehicle and while transferring the vehicle between Lagos and Abuja, it was impounded by Customs.

“We believe that is an issue between the supplier and the Customs because the Senate has not taken delivery.

“So, why is somebody trying to drag the name of Saraki into the issue?

“The documents on the vehicle are there for the general public to view and make their conclusions.

“Now that the matter has been referred to the Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, all the facts will be out,” Mr. Olaniyonu said.

The allegation against Mr. Saraki followed a report by Sahara Reporters on how a bulletproof Range Rover purportedly belonging to the senate president was imported with fake papers and seized by the Nigeria Customs Service.

Hameed-Ali
Customs Comptroller General Hameed Alli at loggerheads with the Senate

The Comptroller-General of the NCS, Hameed Ali, is currently at loggerheads with the Senate which insists the retired colonel must wear Customs uniform to appear before lawmakers on Wednesday.

Sahara Reporters’ report said the Senate was tough on Mr. Ali because Customs seized Mr. Saraki’s car.

The Senate had at plenary on Tuesday directed the Committee on Ethics and Privileges to investigate alleged irregularities on car importation duty levelled against Mr. Saraki.

The move to investigate the allegation followed a motion by former Senate Leader, Ali Ndume (APC-Borno).

In the motion, Mr. Ndume said the seizure of the car purportedly belonging to Mr. Saraki had made the senate a subject of public ridicule.

He, therefore, urged the upper chamber to investigate the matter.

The committee was given four weeks to submit its report.

(NAN)

HOW LABOUR PROTEST MARCH TURNED INTO SOLIDARITY VISIT TO OSINBAJO

The leaders of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and their Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, counterparts,  became happy on meeting with the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo. turned a protest march against perceived bad governance, and worsening hardship, into a solidarity visit at the Presidential Villa on February 9.

Aggrieved workers and their society allies, in Lagos and Abuja, displayed several placards with inscriptions such as “President Buhari let there be light”, “End jumbo salary for all political office holders”, “prosecute all indicted persons”. “Jail all looters” and so on,

Leading the protest, leaders of NLC and TUC made it clear that Nigerians were dissatisfied with the style of governance of the present government that had made Nigerians poorer and unable to cope with the hardship. They demanded that the Federal Government should make known the identities of those that looted the nation’s treasury and asked that their hands be amputated to serve as deterrent.

The protesters insisted that the level of hardship in the country had risen to alarming levels and that workers were  the worst hit by the current recession, demanding upward review of the minimum wage.

They also threatened to drag some  state governors to the anti-graft agencies for alleged diversion of the bail-out funds recently released by the government for the payment of workers’ salaries, arrears, pensions and gratuity.

In Abuja, NLC president and its TUC counterpart, Ayuba Wabba, and Bobboi Kaigama, respectively, at the Unity Fountain,  among others,  expressed deep frustrations at the  socio-economic and political situations in the country.

On his own part, the Vice President of Industriall Global Union and General Secretary of National Union of Textiles, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria, Issa Aremu, lamented that before the increment of the pump price of petrol, labour had predicted what would be the outcome of the government policy, adding that the predictions had come to pass.

 

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From the unity fountain, the protesters moved to the National Assembly, where they demanded from the leadership of  the National Assembly, the immediate upward review of minimum wage amidst increasing cost of items in the country. They lamented that besides the issue of minimum wage, pensioners in the country were owed up to 77 months. They called on the National Assembly to liaise with other arms of government to pay them.

Responding, the Senate President Bukola Saraki, said it was time to go into action towards addressing the numerous challenges confronting Nigerians and that everybody should  sit down and work out how to make necessary adjustments. He said: “It can’t continue this way, the exchange  rate is high, cost of things in the market have gone high but only the workers’ salaries remained the same. By the next time we will meet I will tell you what the National Assembly has done to improve the living condition of Nigerians.” Leaving the Assembly complex, the protesters decided to storm the  Aso Rock Villa. But hardly had they got to the thresholds of the Presidential Villa through the Supreme Court route when they met with a horde of security agents preventing them from gaining access to the villa to deliver their protest message to  Prof.  Osinbajo.

For more than an hour, they waited in the scorching sun,  and while they were still battling with the security operatives, words reached Osinbajo on the development. The acting president gave approval for their leaders to be allowed in. The leaders met with Osinbajo in his conference room inside the presidential villa.

But while the leaders had thrown all types of darts at government at the Unity Fountain, upon meeting face-to-face with the Vice President, their attitudes changed into a chorus of strong support for the government.
Read more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/02/labour-protest-turns-solidarity-visit-osinbajo/

ANTI SARAKI GROUPS PLAN NATIONWIDE PROTEST MARCHES; LABOUR UNION CALLS FOR RESIGNATION

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News reaching this blogger from Lagos and Abuja, Nigeria are alleging that several groups and organisations that are against the continued existence of the embattled Senator Bukonla Saraki as Senate President,are vigorously planning mass protest marches throughout the nation.

These protests took root with the humiliating experience suffered by the Senator at the hands of citizens of Ilorin, the Senator’s home town in Kwara State at the Eid prayers last Thursday, when he was pelted with stones and pure water sachets and shouts of “Ole, ole” (thief, thief)” were continuously chanted at him.

According to Saturday Vanguard, forces opposed to Saraki’s continued stay as Senate President have concluded plans to embark on what they termed, mass protests to drive home on whether he was morally bound to continue in that office and the need for him to “resign honourably.

Already, there are strong indications emerging of fellow Senators against the embattled Senate President, strategizing on how to ensure that he leaves the position as number three citizen of the country and many of them are in the process of lobbying pro Saraki colleagues in the Senate to switch sides.

Reliable sources report that following the arraignment of Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), some leaders of the All Progressives Congress, APC have concluded plans to move the battle against him to the second stage, which would be carry out campaigns that was expected to catch like wild fire across the country, just as this was designed to weaken his public image and popularising the idea that there was the need for him to resign.

The source disclosed that the protests would be sustained until the resumed hearing of the CCT suit against Saraki on October 21.

It was also gathered that some groups of Protesters were already mobilized and would start their campaigns from Monday September 28, a day to the resumption of the Senate after a six week annual recess, just as this group was said to also be mobilising to ensure that the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP was removed.

This Day newspaper says that apart from the protest marches plans which have already been perfected, another set of the groups have also been assigned the responsibility of holding press conferences across the states over the Saraki matter, specifically asking the Senate President to resign.

The report adds that anti-Saraki forces were resorting to mass protest, not only to embarrass the Senate President but force him out of office because they reckoned his current trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal might ultimately not result in the expected outcome, hence the resort to other options to aid their cause

This, the organisers are believed to have also designed to coincide with the resumption of the Senate that Tuesday so that the exercise would not only taint and embarrass the person of the Senate President but also prevent the lawmakers from sitting.

Senate President Bukola Saraki is currently facing trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT following a 13- count charge leveled against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, bordering on alleged corruption and false declaration of assets in 2003 and summoned him to appear before it on Friday.

Meanwhile, Nigerian workers, under the umbrellas of the Nigerian Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress, have asked the Senator Bukola Saraki, to vacate his office pending the determination of his case at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

The workers, who spoke across the country, said although Saraki is still on trial and has not been found guilty of the allegations against him, it is morally right for him to vacate his office as Senate President to defend himself.

Story by Jummy Ariyo

Other sources:

Saturday Vanguard

This Day Newspaper

Punch