Did the police cart away Budget 2017 documents from the home of a senator?
That remained a knotty question yesterday.
The police denied that they took such documents during a raid on the Abuja home of Senator Danjuma Goje. The Senate said they did and that the budget could be delayed for that reason.
But, said the Senate yesterday in a statement, less than 24 hours after it demanded the immediate return of the documents, the police had complied with its directive.
Senate President Bukola Saraki’s office said the police returned all the documents, cash and laptop they took away from the house of the Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation.
Goje had, on Wednesday, told the Senate that policemen who raided his house on April 20 took away budget documents.
The Gombe Central lawmaker said besides 18 files, the police also took away his personal laptop where information on the budget was stored.
He said that N18 million, $19,000 and 4,000 Saudi Riyals were also taken away from his house by the police raiders.
The Senate resolved to ask the police to return the documents.
The Senate President also demanded an explanation of what informed the raid and an unreserved apology.
He constituted a seven-man committee to unravel the circumstances that led to the raid.
The Special Assistant to the Senate President on New Media, Bankole Omisore, said the police returned everything they took.
He said that the police claimed that they acted on wrong information by a whistle-blower.
Omisore twitted: “Nigerian police this morning returned every thing they took from Senator Goje’s house, including cash and documents relating to the 2017 Budget.
”They claim the raid was based on wrong information from a whistleblower.”
Also the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, in a statement entitled: “Resolution of issues: Re-Nigerian Police Force and Senator Danjuma Goje”, confirmed the items taken away from Goje’s home by the police have been returned.
A source close to Goje told our reporter that a deputy commissioner of police and some plain clothe officers returned the items early yesterday.
The police said the search warrant executed in Goje’s home had nothing to do with the budget.
The police searched Goje’s 10, Haile Salasie Street, Asokoro District, Abuja home, following an intelligence report.
Force spokesman CSP Jimoh Moshood, in a statement in Abuja, said the report that budget documents were taken away was false, misleading and capable of misinforming Nigerians.
He said that the search warrant was professionally executed.
”It is pertinent to set the record straight and inform Nigerians on the facts of the matter,”he said.
He said that on arrival of the Police team at Goje’s house, the house keeper, Ango Usman, informed him of the presence and mission of the team and he promised to come but later switched off his phone.
”The search warrant was successfully executed in the presence of three close relatives of Goje who reside in the house and the recoveries were made in their presence,”he said.
The relatives are: Danjuma Mohammed, Ango Usman, house keeper to Goje and Aisha Umar, a step daughter to Goje.
He said that the relatives opened the house, took the police team round the building, and endorsed their signatures after the completion of the search as required by law.
He said the items on the search warrant contained the money, documents and laptop recovered, and that none of the items included the budget document.
Moshood said the items recovered include: N18 million; 19,850 US dollars; 9, 400 Saudi Riyals; 38 files and six envelopes containing documents; file on funds spent on security administration and information gathering in 2009.
Others are: file on release of fund for special operations in 2009;file on Gombe State Government cash inflow, 2005; file on Project 2007 and executive briefs on how to fight opposition in Gombe State, Strategies and tactics.
He said there were also envelopes containing permit to operate as an oil industry service company (special categories) 2011; file containing write-ups on how a former governor plotted the assassination of Sheikh Jafaru and letters from Mohammed Goje to the MD, LUBELL Nigeria Ltd. of proposed residential development at Kashere Phase II dated Jan. 1, 2007 and Nov.19, 2010.
The spokesman said that there was no document relating to the 2017 Budget sighted or removed by the Pplice team.
He said that the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Ibrahim Idris, honoured the invitation of the National Assembly to explain the legality of the search warrant in Goje’s house.
Moshood said that further investigation was ongoing into the matter, adding that police actions were in line with the provisions of Sec. 4 and 28 of the Police Act and Regulations.
”The Nigeria Police Force sees the report in the media credited to Sen. Danjuma Goje as a deliberate distraction to cast aspersion on police investigation to pervert the end of justice,”he said.
He implored the public to disregard the report as the search warrant was professionally executed.