The Civil Society Network Against Corruption has urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to beam its searchlight on the alleged fraudulent activities of some principal officers of the National Assembly.
In a petition forwarded to the anti-graft commission and signed by the coalition’s National Chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju, CSNAC said it is calling for the investigation of the alleged fraudulent conversion of private residential properties to official residences.
The coalition said the conversion of the properties by the officers is aimed at rent collection.
The coalition took its cue from a report in SaharaReporters, dated January 30, 2017, where a story highlighted how the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki; his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu; House of Representatives Speaker, Yakubu Dogara; and his deputy, Lasun Yusuf, defrauded the country of tax payers money totalling N630,125,499.90.
The petition reads: “Our investigations on the issue currently revealed that in spite of the fact that the monetization policy of the federal government bars all agencies from using tax payers money to meet personal demands of public officers outside the confines of legal provisions.
“The aforementioned principal officers of the National Assembly approached the management of the Federal Capital Development Agency to provide them with residential accommodation, having made arrangement to use a fictitious agent “Legendark Consultants” with its address quoted to be situate at Plot 358, Cadastral Zone B09 Via Deeper Life High School, Kado. FCT, Abuja who claimed to be the Landlord for the purpose of the transaction, purportedly renting to the Federal Capital Development Authority a five bedroom detached duplex with two room guest chalet, Boys Quarters, Swimming pool, situated at Plot No. 973, Mban Close, Off Pope John Paul Street, Maitama, Abuja for the use of one of the principal officers of the National Assembly; at the rate of an annual rent of N50 Million Naira, the FCDA having paid for two years in advance.
“The same ‘Legendark Consultants’ also acted as a front for a principal officer of the National Assembly in renting the property situate at Plot 22, Vaal Street, Off Rhine Street, Maitama, Abuja as a Landlord to the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council for the said officer’s use. The property comprising of a 5 bedroom detached duplex, Guest Chalet and three Room Boys Quarters at an annual rent of N40 Million per annum of which the sum of N80 Million Naira was paid in advance for two years.
“The common feature amongst the aforelisted transactions is the fact that the accommodation requests of the Principal Officers being originally a dubious one were approved within 48 hours and followed with an immediate disbursement of funds, having presented companies that doubled as estate agents and property owners for the shameful exercise.
“Other than the afore quoted Legendark Consultants, the other companies used includes; Gogetit Investment Limited and Pitch Global Services.
“On the whole, the officers were fraudulently paid by the FCDA for phoney renting, renovation and furnishing of four properties as official residences for Messrs. Saraki, Ekweremadu, Dogara, and Lasun. While Messrs. Saraki and Dogara presented their residential properties as rented houses, Messrs. Ekweremadu and Lasun did not present any residential property but collected their share of the money.”
The coalition went on to list the alleged amounts fraudulently received from the phoney transactions by the principal officers.
It said: “Mr. Saraki received the sum of N113,095,238.00 and N11,904,761.90 in VAT as rent for the property located at No.48, Lake Chad Crescent in Maitama, Abuja. In addition to the sum of N67,857,142.86 and VAT of N7,142,857.14 for furnishing.
“Mr. Yakubu Dogara received the sum of N73 Million Naira and VAT of N7 Million Naira as rent and N63m and VAT of N6 Million Naira as furnishing for the property situate at No. 9, Persian Gulf Close, Off Euphrates Street, Wuse 2, Abuja.
“Mr. Ekweremadu received N90 Million and VAT of N9 Million as rent, including the sum of N45,084,285.72 with VAT of N4,745,114.28 for furnishing without presenting any property.
“Mr. Lasun received N62 Million and N6,571,428.58 in VAT for rent, in addition to the sums of N55,190,476.18 and VAT of N5,809,523.82 for furnishing.
“The result of our above findings as highlighted above shows a total betrayal of the confidence in the assumed integrity of the said principal officers, as their flagrant display of corruption and utter greed on the mere issue of accommodation shows their posturing towards the current administration’s fight against the menace of corruption in our society.
“On the basis of the above, we hereby urge you to investigate the above scandal and bravely mete out appropriate sanctions and prosecution where the officers are indicted.”