Offa bank robbery: You lack evidence against Saraki – Malami tells Police

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The Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, Abubakar Malami SAN, has written to the Nigerian Police, saying there is no nexus between Senate President Bukola Saraki, the Kwara state governor, Abdulfatai Ahmed and the April 5 bank robbery that took place in Offa, Kwara state which led to the death of about 33 persons including 12 policemen and a pregnant woman.

The AGF, in a letter by the Director of Public Prosecution, DPP, Mohammed Umar, dated June 22 and addressed to the Inspector-General of Police, said he could not establish a connection between Saraki, Governor Ahmed, and the suspected robbers.

“For the senate president and the Kwara state governor, this office is unable to establish from the evidence in the interim report a nexus between the alleged offence and the suspects. Hence, it is in our advice that further and thorough investigation in this regard be carried out.”

Malami therefore advised Ibrahim Idris, that the police would need to ramp up their investigation and also painstakingly explore all critical areas before identifying the Senate President as a suspect in the carnage, much less filing charges against him.

Recall that the Police had, severally, invited Saraki to its office to clear himself of the allegation leveled against him in confessional statements of some suspects arrested over the robbery.

The police had claimed that based on the confessional statements of the suspects, that there is a “direct link” between the robbers and the Senate President.

Some of the robbers had claimed in their statements that both Dr. Saraki and Governor Abdulfatai Ahmed provided them with what they used in carrying out the crime.

However, both the Senate President and the Kwara state Governor have denied any link to the robbery nor have they any connection with the suspected robbers.

On Monday night, the IGP, Ibrahim Idris, wrote to Saraki, asking him to report to the Intelligence Response Team, IRT, office in Abuja to make further statements on the robbery incident.

But Saraki replied the IGP, saying the police team should send their personnel or obtain a written response from him if they want additional information as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

However, drama played out in the early hours of Tuesday as some policemen barricaded the Senate President from leaving his house.

Although the Police headquarters denied authorising the siege to the Senate President, the move was alleged to have been aimed at preventing Saraki from presiding over the Senate’s proceeding of Tuesday to abort the planned defection of some All Progressives Congress, APC, senators to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Saraki had himself, in a statement, accused the police of trying to link him to the robbery at all means.

According to him, “This plot aimed at compelling me and my associates to stay in a party where members are criminalised without just cause, where injustice is perpetrated at the highest level and where there is no respect for constitutionalism is an exercise in futility and it will fail.”

However, the police has insisted that there is a direct link between the Senate President and the robbery, hence, it has maintained that the Senate President must report to its headquarters to answer to the allegations.

The police maintain there is a link between Saraki and the robbery.

But in the letter by the DPP, Malami urged the police to stop dragging Saraki into the robbery case, maintaining that based on the preliminary evidence provided by the police, it could not see any link between Saraki and the suspects or the crime.

It however gave what it said is the appropriate way of conducting an investigation to reach a logical conclusion as to whether an accused has a connection to the crime alleged.

The letter, according to Vanguard, gave the procedure to include:

“i. Establish whether the planning and the execution of the robbery attack of the 5th April 2018 at Offa was carried out at their instance, knowledge or approval.

“ii. Whether the weapons used for the robbery attack aforementioned were supplied by either the senate president, Bukola Saraki or the governor of Kwara state, Abdulfatai Ahmed.

“iii. And any other area or areas that may assist in establishing a prima facie case of aiding and abetting crime, or accessory after the fact.”

However, Saraki on Thursday met with the team of police officers investigating the robbery incident that took place in Offa, Kwara state, in April.

In a tweet, his Special Assistant on New Media, Olu Onemola, said the Senate President met with the team of investigators in his office at 1:40pm on Thursday.

Onemola said Saraki reiterated at the meeting that he had nothing to do with the Offa heist.

“Further to the invitation to the senate president, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, by the Police on July 23, 2018, and his written response to them on July 24, 2018 on why he could not see them that day — today at about 1:40pm, the senate president met with a team of investigators on the Offa robbery case in his office.

“Dr. Saraki, used the opportunity to reiterate the fact that he has nothing to do with either the robbery incident on April 5, 2018, or any other criminal activity,” the tweet read.

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