•Senator: I was framed-up
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), yesterday clarified that detained former senator representing Kaduna Central, Senator Shehu Sani, has questions to answer as regards the alleged involvement in name-dropping, and particularly that he obtained $25,000 from Alhaji Sani Dauda, the ASD Motors boss, in order to help shield him from investigations being carried out by the EFCC. Sani, however, in his reaction to the bribery allegation against him, alleged that it was an imaginative work of fiction crafted to silence him. But the EFCC in its clarifications claimed it decided to clear the air based on insinuations and phantom claims that the commission was “prosecuting” Sani because he is a known critic of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
The EFCC accused Sani of collecting money from Dauda, promising to pass it on to Mr. Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman of the antigraft agency, to influence an investigation. He was also alleged to have said he could assist Dauda in influencing a case at the supreme court by bribing Muhammad Tanko, chief justice of Nigeria (CJN), and some other judges.
The CJN denied having anything to do with the former senator. On Wednesday, officials of the EFCC searched two houses belonging to the senator in Abuja. In a statement issued by the Acting Head, Media and Publicity, Tony Orilade, said: “The commission wishes to state that Sani is currently facing criminal investigation, and he is being detained by the EFCC in very conducive environment, based on a valid court order. “Invariably, claims in some quarters of the breach of his fundamental human rights, is merely in the imagination of the purveyors of such claims. “Let it be stated clearly, that Senator Shehu Sani has questions to answer as regards the alleged involvement in name-dropping, and particularly that he obtained $25,000 from Alhaji Sani Dauda, the ASD Motors boss, in order to help shield him from investigations being carried out by the EFCC.
“For certain people to brazenly come out to defend a suspect, who is being probed for a serious offence as the one committed by Sani shows that they are not really conversant with his offence. “It is unfortunate that certain people are ready to do anything to support evil for pecuniary gains.
This is quite unfortunate!” On his part, in a statement yesterday, Sani said he had never offered bribe to the CJN, and that his arrest is politically motivated. “The allegations of ‘extortion’ against me is baseless, fact-less, unfounded, hollow and unsubstantial,” he said.
“It is a scripted stream of mischievous concoctions and utter fabrications using a puppet state agent; all aimed at splashing faeces and mud on me. “The extortion allegation is nothing but a wholesale falsehood, packaged in a phantom anti-graft facade to taint, stain and mute me. That shall never happen if I am alive. “I have made my statement and provided all my facts against their package of lies and I demand the EFCC to make public all the sheets of our statements and supporting documents for the world to see. My detention is unfair, unjust, prearranged and politically motivated.”
The former senator, who is a critic of the Buhari administration, also said the federal government cannot use a false bribery story to shut him up. “Fascism thrives in frame up of its critics. They claim extortion and here they are closing my bank accounts, searching my houses and offices and demanding I declare my assets, of which I have already done that at the CCB (Code of Conduct Bureau) last year when I left the Senate,” he said. “Frame-up cannot silence me! I have never ever met with the CJN or any judge or judges or ever called directly or indirectly to offer to give or to give directly or indirectly any form of gratification from Alhaji Sani Dauda. Meanwhile, the EFCC yesterday denied that it arraigned former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar before Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court, Ikeja, Lagos for an alleged fraud of N75.3billion.
The anti-graft agency noted that nothing of such took place, contrary to an online report which claimed that the commission had arraigned the former Vice-President on January 9. The statement reads: “The commission also wishes to state that no statement or press release emanated from the spokesperson for the commission, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, to that effect as claimed in the report, nor was there any involvement of any sort from the commission’s prosecutor, Joy Amahian, in the imaginary arraignment.”