OPINION: Saraki Vows To Ensure Missing $20B Is Paid Ba #Beekhaybee

Omishore Bamikole is Special Assistant (New
media) to The Senate President and has been
with the Senate President since his time as a
first term Senator in the 7th Assembly.
Story Highlights
-The 7th Senate set up a committee to probe
allegations that the nation lost $20 billion due
to sharp practices in the sector.
-Senator Saraki is the only Senator in the
committee that refused to sign the report even
in the face of severe duress and personal
inconvenience.
-It is also evident that Senator Saraki’s
commitment to see that the missing funds are
found and paid back into the Federation
Account was never in doubt from day one.
This article expresses the author’s opinion
only. The views and opinions expressed here do
not necessarily represent those of Naij.com or
its editors.
Before President Muhammadu Buhari travelled
to the United States on a four-day official trip,
one of the issues dominating the national
discourse was the missing $20 billion in the
Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation
(NNPC). The issue was first raised by former
CBN Governor now Emir of Kano, Muhammadu
Sanusi.
However, a Senator felt sufficiently peeved that
the nation was losing so much resource, which
could have been used for the benefit of the
masses. He then took up the issue of the
leakages in the nation’s oil receipts and moved
a powerful motion on the floor of the 7th
Senate. That Senator is now the head of the
upper legislative chamber, Dr. Bukola Saraki.
At that time, the 7th Senate set up a committee
to probe allegations that the nation lost $20
billion due to sharp practices in the sector. The
report of the committee led by former Kaduna
State Governor, Senator Ahmed Makarfi turned
to be as controversial as the amount of money
said to have been lost. While the committee in
anti-climax manner failed to directly identify
how much was lost and who benefited from the
loss, Saraki refused to sign the report of the
investigation into the alleged non-remittance of
$20bn by NNPC into the federation account. In
his letter dated 3rd of June 2014 to the
Committee to explain why he withheld his
signature, he wrote:
READ ALSO: Senate Never Cleared Diezani
Alison-Madueke, NNPC Over Missing $20b –
Saraki
“ It is my opinion that this report as laid has not
fully addressed the matter referred to us
adequately and conclusively.
“The report has not been definitive on its
findings and has failed to address some of the
critical issues I had raised during our meetings.
For this reason; I am withholding my support
and signature.”
The records of the committee are still
accessible in the National Assembly and can be
verified. The Senator chose to stand by the
people, thereby breaking ranks with his
colleagues.
READ ALSO: Missing $20bn: I Did Not Receive
Bribe From Jonathan – Saraki
Also, it is still on record that Senator Saraki is
the only Senator in the committee that refused
to sign the report even in the face of severe
duress and personal inconvenience. Sen. Saraki
during the investigation was known to have
been very probing with his questions,
meticulously reviewing the data offered by
NNPC to get to the bottom of the issue. It would
be recalled that though he did not make the
last meeting of the committee, when the news
broke that the Committee has cleared the NNPC,
he was the first and the only senator to rebut
the report saying: “the recent media reports
claiming that the Senate Committee on Finance
has cleared NNPC of any unaccounted revenue
fund are not true… I have been very active in
the investigation, nothing significant has
changed to suggest clearing of anyone” . See
Thisday Newspaper of May 29, 2014.
The newspapers publications relating to this is
all over the print and electronic media for all
who want to find the truth. It is therefore
unlikely that he could have cut a deal with the
Jonathan administration on this matter as some
detractors recently wanted us to believe. Only
in the world of fabricators will such a claim be
possible.
It is also evident that Senator Saraki’s
commitment to see that the missing funds are
found and paid back into the Federation
Account was never in doubt from day one. It
would be recalled that during this investigation,
he went out of his way to collaborate with the
IHS Information Analytics Expertise and MJHC
Limited London, two renowned international
organisations with specialty on oil financials, to
do further forensic review on this matter. This
expensive endeavour undertaken at his own
personal expense also underscores the length at
which he left no stone unturned to help the
Makarfi committee unravel the mystery
surrounding the missing funds.
READ ALSO: How The Failures Of The 7th
Senate Led To The NNPC Crisis – Sen Nwogu
It is therefore laughable for anybody to
insinuate that Sen. Saraki met with former
President Goodluck Jonathan to discuss the
content of the committee’s report. Lest we
forget, the committee met for the last time on
the February 16, 2014. So, the thought of
Senator Saraki working to bring down the
number or amount un-remitted in a deal with
Goodluck Jonathan is completely false. For the
avoidance of doubt, there has been no meeting
of any type between Senator Saraki and former
President Jonathan since the former left PDP.
So any suggestion that the Ex-president
Jonathan sent Mr. Chagoury, the Lebanese
businessman to Senator Saraki with gifts /
money to seek support from him on the report
is totally false. Both the Sarakis and Chagourys
have been family friends for over 26years.
It should also be remembered that it is because
of Saraki’s yeoman’s job on the oil sector fund
leakages that he harvested an EFCC case spawn
by the Jonathan administration to teach him a
lesson for his effrontery. That case which had
been investigated without any result has
become a blackmail instrument for anybody
who hates Saraki’s guts.
In the new politics of the struggle over the
Senate leadership, it is not unexpected that this
same EFCC case will be dusted up. It will be
used again as an instrument of blackmail
against Saraki. They will want to pummel him
with it. That is the price of leadership. A gallant
effort to save the resources of the nation has
landed the enemies of a man the instrument to
castigate him.

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