Femi Falana, human rights lawyer and senior advocate of Nigeria, has wondered why the leadership of the Nigerian senate is always associated with claims of fraud and forgery.
Falana on Wednesday said there were many open-ended questions regarding the sport utility vehicle (SUV) of senate president, Bukola Saraki, which was seized by the customs over forged documents.
Although Saraki’s spokesperson had said the issue was between the vehicle’s supplier and the customs, Falana said it may have motivated the senate’s insistence that Hameed Ali, comptroller-general of customs, wears uniform before addressing the red chamber.
“The statement credited to the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki is not a denial of the criminal allegation but an attempt to pull wool over the eyes of Nigerians,” said Falana.
“Even If we accept the explanation it means that the Senate leadership bought a vehicle that was imported to the country with forged documents.
“That has confirmed that the planned humiliation of the customs boss was borne out of vengeance. So it is no longer a case of individual liability but that of institutional criminal negligence.
“These guys have to invent more lies because the limousine was not budgeted for by the National Assembly.
“Or is it another case of padding of the budget? Why is the leadership always associated with forgery and fraud? Did the senate leader not distance himself from the controversial vehicle? So why did the leader of the senate allow the matter to be investigated by the ethics committee of the upper chamber if he was planning to wash off his hands like Pontius Pilate?” he asked.
Falana added that, “Since there are many unanswered questions, the Nigeria Customs Service should go ahead and get to the root of the criminality with a view to prosecuting the culprits”.
Tokunboh Akindele, the car dealer whom the senate contracted to supply the bullet-proof SUV, on Wednesday said Saraki was not involved in the transaction.
Akindele also said he did not know the customs documents issued to him were forged.