Paris Club refund: Saraki commends supreme court for overturning N1.2bn forfeiture judgment

Paris Club refund: Saraki commends supreme court for overturning N1.2bn forfeiture judgment

Reacting to the development, Saraki described the case as a
“proxy war” that used Melrose “as a mere pawn” to “victimise and persecute”
him.

 

“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,” he wrote.

 

“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.

“I am profoundly grateful to the Almighty Allah, the
ultimate arbiter of justice, for guiding the Supreme Court to this righteous
verdict.

 

“I applaud the judiciary for their meticulous examination of
the evidence and adherence to due process, which has ensured that justice
prevailed. I also thank Melrose’s legal team for their tireless efforts in
bringing this 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.”

 

BACKGROUND

On March 27, 2019, the EFCC alleged that Saraki and some of
his aides laundered a N3.5 billion Paris Club loan refund.

 

The N3.5 billion was allegedly part of the N522 billion loan
refund disbursed to all the states of the federation in December. The refund
was as a result of over-deductions from the statutory allocations of the states
for debt servicing from 1995 to 2002.

 

In a report to former President Muhammadu Buhari, the
anti-graft agency alleged that the said amount was paid by the Nigeria
Governors’ Forum (NGF) into the bank account of Melrose General Services, a
company owned by Robert Mbonu, an associate of Saraki.

 

NGF had reportedly hired Mbonu as its consultant on the
deal.

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