The Special Fraud Unit of the Nigeria police in Lagos has interrogated the wife of the former governor of Kwara State, Senator Bukola Saraki, over allegations that her husband connived with his protege, Mahmoud Lai Alabi, to defraud the defunct InterContinental Bank of N11 billion in unsecured bank loans. Mr. Saraki made a privileged personal appearance at the police unit to answer questions about his involvement in the fraud.
His Saraki's regal appearance at the unit took place after the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, arranged a soft landing for him as court actions filed at an Abuja federal court failed to stop the police from arresting him.
Mr. Saraki was subsequently declared wanted by the police as facts emerged that he was planning to flee the country via South Africa. SaharaReporters sources said that new facts emerged last week that Mr. Saraki lied to police investigators when he claimed that he was not aware of how the bank accounts of one of the companies used in the fraud was operated after his personal assistant died mysteriously.
Mr. Saraki's longtime Personal Assistant, Mathew Obahor, was listed as the owner of Joy Petroleum Nigeria Limited. Joy Petroleum acted as a shield for several of Saraki’s companies involved in fraud. They include Skyview Properties Limited, owned by Mrs. Toyin Saraki and Toyin Pinheiro SAN; Carlisle Properties, owned by Mrs. Toyin Saraki (nee Ojora); Dicetrade; and Linkers, owned by Toyin Pinhero, Kolade Babafemi and Tokunbo Agoro. Police investigators said they found Mr. Saraki's assertion to be untrue as several withdrawals were made from the account between the former governor's wife, Toyin, and another lawyer, Toyin Pinhero (SAN), who were identified to be on the board of several companies used by the former governor as a front for the bank loan fraud.
The interrogation of Mrs. Saraki is coming on the heels of further findings by Saharareporters about how the former governor used a complex scheme of fraudulent strategies to defraud InterContinetal Bank through Joy Petroleum Limited.
For instance, a board resolution of the company obtained by Saharareporters shows that on January 22nd 2009, the board of Joy Petroleum agreed to obtain a loan of N2.088 billion from Intercontinental Bank. The resolution claimed that the meeting was attended by Matthew Obahor, his wife, Joy Obahor and one Hamza Ibrahim. One Esther Olaitan acted as the secretary during the purported board meeting.
Curiously, the board resolved that the loan would be operated by Mr. Hamza Ibrahim. Mr. Ibrahim is the Managing Director of Mr. Saraki's Limkers Nig Ltd.
Our sources stated that Hamza was never a member of the board of Joy Petroleum and that the entire board resolution was forged by Mr. Saraki and his cronies. The loan was later disbursed to Saraki's Limkers Nigeria Ltd with the aid of his former protege, Mahmoud Alabi. Family sources told SaharaReporters that Mr. Obahor was hospitalized at the Lagos State University hospital, and was bedridden from Janaury until December 2009. They said he could not possibly have attended a board meeting during that time. Mr. Obahor died mysteriously on December 8, 2009.
At the center of the bank loan scam is another issue that emerged during SaharaReporters investigations, that Mr. Saraki's Limkers Nigeria Ltd is the company the former governor used to buy over the defunct Societe Generale Bank of Nigeria.
A source told Saharareporters that Mr. Saraki funneled 1.5 billion Naira of the bank loans he fraudulent acquired from InterContinental Bank to the Central Bank of Nigeria to enable him take over Societe Generale bank that deal was done through Intercontinental Bank in 2010