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Monday, 30 October 2017

SENATOR SHEHU SANI IN TROUBLE AS DSS, POLICE INVESTIGATES $25 MILLION CASH-FOR-LOAN SCANDAL




Security agencies are turning over files on an alleged $25 million cash-for-loan scandal rocking the Senate’s Local and Foreign Loans Committee led by Senator Shehu Sani.

Already, the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Police have tightened the loose ends over what Presiden­cy sources described as “cash-for-approval” deals, which the Senate Committee had almost sealed with several states of the federation seeking approval for foreign loans.

The specific approvals being investigated are loan requests by Borno and Niger States, and specific demands alleged­ly made by the committee.

Following the discoveries made from Borno and Niger, the investigating team decided to beam its searchlight on loan requests from other states.

The Vice President Yemi Osi­nbajo had as Acting President forwarded the requests of the states to the National Assembly for approval as required by law.

SENATOR SHEHU SANI IN TROUBLE AS DSS, POLICE INVESTIGATES $25 MILLION CASH-FOR-LOAN SCANDAL

Osinbajo had forwarded to the National Assembly in June 2017, a $1.5 billion loan request with part of the benefitting states including Kaduna ($350 million), Ebonyi ($70 million), Kano ($200 million) and Katsina ($110 mil­lion).

A part of the investigations is to find out how foul water al­legedly passed under the bridge when some elements in the Sen­ate Committee reportedly asked for $20 million from the insur­gency-battered Borno State and $5 million from Niger State, in order to have their respective loan requests approved.

A source claimed that the in­terest on this investigation may have been triggered because Sen­ator Sani, though a leading mem­ber of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), has remained a strident critic of the Federal Gov­ernment, the Kaduna State gov­ernment and the APC national leadership.

He chaired the Senate Com­mittee which investigated the suspended Secretary to Govern­ment of the Federation (SGF), Engr David Lawal. He has var­iously described the Presidency as fighting the war on corruption with kid-gloves, applying “deo­dorant” when corruption entan­gles a key member of the Buha­ri government and “insecticide” when personalities from the oth­er arms of government or the op­position are under investigation.

Due to the national econom­ic crisis, several states are seeking foreign loans out of the problem which thus created the opportu­nity for “deals” for the Senate Lo­cal and Foreign Loans Commit­tee, according to the sources.

“The committee in the main is saddled with the constitutional responsibility to scrutinise such loan requests and make appro­priate recommendations to the full Senate in session for approval before the Federal Government guarantees such foreign loans. The conditions that have to be met are tight. It is these tough conditions that the committee has cashed in on which prompt­ed the recourse to demand for bribes,” one of the sources stated.

Only last week, Senator She­hu Sani had urged President Mu­hammadu Buhari to include cor­rupt APC members on the list of looters to be published. Sani wrote on his Facebook wall: “The Federal Government’s decision to publish the names of looters is commendable. Hope the ‘call-up’ list will not be limited to the ageing ‘Umbrella United’ play­ers, but will include those in the ‘Broomers FC’ and ‘Paris Saint Germain’ and ‘Dynamo Cabal FC’ players.”

Competent sources said that Senator She­hu Sani, who has been a pain in the neck of the “cabal”, may have walked into a trap set for him due to his strident criticisms.

From facts gathered, the loan request for Borno State is meant to take care of Internally Dis­placed Persons (IDPs) and the rebuilding of the state that was devastated by Boko Haram.

Apart from the Borno and Niger issues, the embattled Sena­tor had, according to sources, al­legedly sent a top-ranking Sen­ator to Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State to ask for “set­tlement” before the “$350 mil­lion foreign loan counterpart the state’s budget could be approved.

According to information obtained from top Presidency sources, Sani’s sole request was that “Governor el-Rufai should guarantee me a return ticket and his loan request will be ap­proved,” contrary to his position that he is opposed to the loan for fears that Kaduna State was not in a position to repay.

Governor el-Rufai, as a min­isterial nominee, during the Olusegun Obasanjo adminis­tration, had squealed on Sen­ators for demanding money to facilitate his clearance.

The World Bank on 20th June 2017 approved a $350mil­lion budget support facility for Kaduna State to fund critical pro­jects. To draw from the money, the state must secure National Assembly’s approval before the Federal Government could guar­antee the borrowing plan.

The request is gathering dust at the Local and Foreign Loans Committee.

Last week, some women had demonstrated against Sen­ator Sani, accusing him of using his position to frustrate the state government.

A text message was sent to Senator Shehu Sani on the matter which he did not respond to.

In his reply, an aide to the Senator named Sule said: “Please give him a little while, he is at an event. The phone is not close to him, I will notify him.”

But at the time of filing this report, Senator Sani did not re­spond to any of the questions.



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