The President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, has reacted to an investigation by Premium Times that exposed hidden assets owned by his wife, Toyin Saraki, which he failed to declare to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) as required by Nigerian laws.
At least four assets belonging to the wealthy and famous Saraki family of Nigeria, all tucked away in secret offshore territories, were uncovered by the investigation published by Premium Times.
Last September the CCB slammed false asset declaration charges on Mr. Saraki, accusing the Senate President, among other things, of failure to declare his assets in full.
Under the code of conduct law, a public office holder is required to declare his own assets, those of his wife as well as assets in the names of his children below the age of 18.
In response to the Premium Times’ story, Mr. Saraki insisted he fully complied with law on asset declaration.
In the response sent in by Yusuph Olaniyonu, his Special Adviser (Media and Publicity), Mr. Saraki said he fully complied with the provisions of the law on declaration of assets by public officers.
The Senate President maintained that he did not fail to declare assets belonging to his wife in secret offshore territories, adding that he, in his different asset declarations, included properties owned individually by himself and his wife.
“The property in question forms part of Dr Saraki’s wife’s family asset,” Mr. Saraki said. “It is public knowledge that Mrs. Saraki comes from a family of independent means and wealth with numerous and varied assets acquired over decades in family estates and investments
“Furthermore, the law only requires a public officer to declare both his own assets and those held by his spouse and his children under 18 years of age. The law does not require a public officer to declare assets held by the spouse’s family.
“It is not expected by the law that a public officer should declare such assets held in the spouse’s family estate. Indeed, the Code of Conduct form does not make provision for declaration of spouse’s family assets,” he stated.
Indeed, Toyin Saraki hails from the rich and famous Ojora family of Lagos. She married Bukola Saraki in 1991.
The hidden properties in offshore territories the Senate President failed to declare were acquired in 2004 and 2011 respectively.
They are not part of the Ojora’s family estate and were not acquired through inheritance.
They are owned by Mrs. Saraki, as shown in the offshore documents obtained by this newspaper.