EFCC Only Chasing Shadow Because I Breached No Law – David Mark

Former Senate President, David Mark has taken a swipe at Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) over the latter’s invitation, says it only chasing shadow.

Mark, who spoke through a statement released by his spokesperson, Paul Mumeh, on Tuesday, alleging that the EFCC was after him over a property he purchased from government in 2011.

The Benue senator was quizzed last week by anti-graft detectives at the EFCC over the campaign finance that went to the Peoples Democratic Party Benue during the 2015 election.

“The EFCC or any other agent of Government are (sic) chasing shadows because the property was dully offered for sale, bided for, and he purchased like any other person would in line with Federal Government’s Monetisation Policy that was started during the time of President Olusegun Obasanjo,” Mr. Mark said.

“I had the right of first refusal. Even if I did not purchase it, someone else would have.

“I am a law-abiding citizen. I did not flout any law,” the senator added.

Mr. Mark also alleged political persecution on the part of the Buhari administration, saying he wasn’t the only one who bought official quarters meant for principal officers of the parliament.

“Curiously, four houses occupied by the then Presiding Officers of National Assembly were offered to the occupants. All of us, me as the then President of the Senate, Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, the then Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole and his Deputy Bayero Nafada were all given the same offer.

“I am at a loss as to why it is now a subject of contention.

“If this persecution is about politics, my political party and the 2019 elections, I dare say that only God and Nigerians would decide. No amount of persecution would alter the will of God.

“I had refrained from commenting on this because it is already in the law Court. But they have taken the matter to the Court of public opinion,” he said.

The presidential Task Force on Recovery of Government Properties has been making moves to evict Mr. Mark from the property, but the senator said he had dragged the government to court.

He said his lawyer, Ken Ikonne, has been litigating the matter in suit number FHC/ABJ/1037/2017 at the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, saying he followed due process and legally acquired the property from the Federal Capital Development Administration, FCDA, on April 27, 2011.

He recalled that the Federal Executive Council decided to authorise the sale of the properties housing the principal officers of the National Assembly because the general security of the area had been altered/compromised due to the sale of the other houses in the Legislative Quarters to the public.

Consequent upon which the houses were offered for sale and dully purchased.

Mr. Mark said he was given the first option of refusal upon which he dully accepted on April 21, 2011 and he paid the agreed purchase price to the adhoc committee on sale of Federal Government houses on April 27, 2011.

David Mark In EFCC Net, Interrogated For Seven Hours

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Monday, interrogated the immediate past Senate President, David Mark, reportedly for about seven hours. According to a source, Mark’s passport was also seized before he was allowed to go on an administrative bail.

Mark, who served as Senate President from 2007 to 2015, arrived at the Abuja office of the EFCC around 12noon and was released at 7pm.

The source added, “The former Senate President arrived around 12pm and spent seven hours responding to several questions from detectives.

“He was released at 7pm on the condition that he must submit his passport to the commission which he did. Senator Mark is expected to return soon to answer more questions”

The former Senate President is expected to account for over N5.4bn slush cash and campaign funds allegedly traced to him.

He was alleged to have received over N500m from the government of former President Goodluck Jonathan during the build-up to the 2015 presidential election.

The money is alleged to have been part of the $2.1bn meant for arms procurement. The Senator, who has been representing Benue-South Senatorial District since 1999, is also accused of sharing N2.9bn to his colleagues while presiding over the upper legislative chamber.

The former Senate President has, however, denied all the allegations leveled against him.

In a statement on Sunday, Mark said, “To set the records straight, Senator Mark was invited by the EFCC via a letter addressed to the National Assembly to answer questions on the 2015 presidential election campaign funds as it concerned Benue State.

“As a law-abiding citizen, Senator Mark honoured the invitation.

“Curiously, they also alleged that the PDP paid over N2bn into the National Assembly’s account which he, as then President of the Senate, allegedly shared among the 109 senators, including PDP, Action Congress of Nigeria and All Nigerian Peoples Party (members) in 2010.

“Again, to the best of his knowledge, Senator Mark is not aware of such transactions. This simply did not make sense to any right thinking member of society.

“Senator Mark wondered why anybody would think that PDP will pay money into National Assembly account. He, however, clarified all the issues raised before returning home.”

 

EFCC Quizzes Ex-Senate President David Mark

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission yesterday quizzed a former President of the Senate, Chief David Mark in connection with some financial issues.

But Mark was released on bail by the anti-graft agency after some hours.
A top source in the commission said: “We invited the ex-Senate President for interaction on some financial issues and he came to clarify certain aspects relating to him.
“He spent a few hours with us, made a statement and he was granted an administrative bail.

Asked of the status of Mark, the source added: “It is too early to release the details but we did not detain him.

“As soon as we get to a convenient bend, we will tell Nigerians why we quizzed Mark.
“He was implicated in some transactions and we decided to hear from him. This does not mean that he is guilty of any infractions at this stage.

” I think it is obvious that our detectives will still interrogate him again on the next few days or weeks.”

Source: The Nation

PDP Can’t Continue With ‘Imposition Of Candidates’ — David Mark

A former Senate President, David Mark, has called for a peaceful national convention on Saturday of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party.

Mr. Mark urged the delegates to right the wrongs of the party’s past by allowing the will of the people to prevail at the elective gathering.

In a message to the delegates, the senator admonished “true faithful of the PDP to try and restore the dignity of the party, urging them to shun ills such as imposition of candidates and impunity he said ruined the chances of the party in the previous elections.

“We have seen what the imposition of candidates caused us in the past. We cannot travel the same route anymore.

“I am sure we have learnt some useful lessons from our electoral misfortune in 2015. We now have the opportunity to right the wrongs of the past by allowing the will of the people to prevail at the convention,” he said.

While expressing confidence in the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa-led National Convention Committee to do a good job and return the PDP to the people, Mr. Mark enjoined party faithful to adhere to the rules of the game in order to guarantee a smooth convention “because only the rule of law and adherence to the principle of Democracy endures.”

Advising contestants for the various party offices to accept the outcome of the elections in the interest of all, he said: “Win or lose, we are still one family. All we need to do is put our house in order in the interest of the party and its members because I can see a bright future.”

Mr. Mark also welcomed former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and others back to the party and urged all those who defected to return home because “PDP is still the only national party and a home for all.”

The PDP National Convention on Saturday will witness the emergence of a new chairman, deputy chairman among other party officers.

‘I Warned Jonathan Of Northern Conspiracy Against Him’, David Mark Says

In a newly published book, former Nigerian Senate President David Mark alleged that he warned former President Goodluck Jonathan of a Northern conspiracy to oust him in the 2015 election.

Mr. Mark, who made the allegation in Against the Run of Play: How an Incumbent President was Defeated in Nigeria, by ThisDay editor Olusegun Adeniyi, said that the former president ignored his warning.

He alleged that the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) intentionally provided the president with unrealistic voting projections in the northern part of the country. Mr. Mark said he knew that the projections were inaccurate and that Mr. Jonathan would lose the election, but party insiders brushed aside his concerns.

“I saw it and at different times, I pointed out to him and the party that the projections being made by some people around the president about what the voting pattern in the north would be were wrong,” Mr. Mark said.

“I could see the conspiracy and the gang-up building up in the north against the aspiration of Jonathan but my voice was drowned out by those who took it for granted that a sitting president, and one from PDP, could not lose.

“Some people were deceiving the president with the kind of false scenarios they were painting for him. The VP could see the conspiracy but I don’t know how much influence he had on the campaign. Why Jonathan couldn’t see it until it was too late is what I find difficult to understand.”

Against the Run of Play has made waves in Nigerian politics as of late. In Mr. Adeniyi’s book, former President Jonathan said he lost his reelection bid due to local and international conspiracies plotted by American, British, and French forces.

PDP Lost In 2015 Due To Imposition Of Candidates – David Mark

The immediate past Senate President, Chief David Mark on Monday revealed why the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, lost the 2015 general elections, blaming it on the domineering attitudes of some party leaders who imposed candidates against the wishes of the people.

Speaking at a party stakeholders’ meeting held in his Otukpo country home in Benue state, Mark harped on the need for the party to reposition itself if it is serious about regaining power in the next general election, even as he expressed optimism in the party regaining its sail courtesy of unfolding developments in the country.

A statement by the lawmaker’s media assistant, Paul Mumeh quoted him as saying: “We must come to terms with reality that PDP lost the last general election because of over bearing tendencies of some leaders who imposed candidates on the people.

“It is inevitable that we must change from the old ways and allow the will of the people prevail. Unfolding events clearly show that the PDP is the party for the people. But we must not take them for granted by forcing unpopular candidates on the people.

“The coast is clear that the PDP has the road map for peace, unity and development of Nigeria. Nigerians now know the difference.”

Mark, therefore, counseled that the popular candidates must be put forward to drive the ship of the party ahead of the next general elections.

He stressed that the PDP had bright chances of returning to power if all party faithful agree to work together in one accord.

To achieve that, Senator Mark stated that people must learn to subject their individual or personal interest for the larger interests of the people. That way, he believes that victory would be assured.

Panama Papers Scandal: EFCC, Interpol To Go After Saraki, Mark, Others

The Federal Government has opened a file on all Nigerians whose names have been mentioned in the Panama Papers as operating offshore accounts in notorious tax havens.

Some of the individuals listed in the papers so far are the current Senate President, Bukola Saraki; and his predecessor, David Mark.

Others listed include Africa’s richest man, Mr. Aliko Dangote; his cousin, Saayu Dantata, and a former Minister of Defence, Lt.Gen Theophilus Danjuma (retd.)

It was learnt that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had been gathering reports from local and international media as well as the responses being given by those named.

It was also learnt that the EFCC would then carry out its independent investigation and involve INTERPOL if necessary.

German newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung, had last Sunday released the Panama Papers, the biggest leak in the history of data journalism, publishing online 11.5 million documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, which showed how some prominent people across the world criminally hid money using anonymous shell corporations across the world.

The Panamanian law firm, regarded as one of the world’s most secretive companies, according to the documents, has helped clients launder money, dodge sanctions and evade tax.

Already, the Nigerians involved have all denied complicity.

In an exclusive report by online medium, Premium Times, it was alleged that about four assets belonging to the Saraki family, which included Girol Properties Ltd., Sandon Development Limited, and Landfield International Developments Ltd., were tucked away in secret offshore territories.

For instance, the report stated that Girol Properties was registered on behalf of Toyin by Fonsecca on August 25, 2004, in the British Virgin Island, a year after her husband became the Governor of Kwara State. But the assets were allegedly not part of the ones declared by the Senate President or Toyin when Saraki became governor and after he was sworn in as the nation’s number three citizen.

Similarly, at least eight offshore companies in the British Virgin Island have been linked to Senator Mark which he allegedly operated while holding public office, a criminal offence according to Nigerian laws.

An impeccable source told our correspondent that the Federal Government was studying the body language of the international community and looking at how other countries were handling investigations.

The source, who pleaded anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, said, “We are studying the matter closely. In fact, we have opened a file and all reports are being gathered.

“We want all the names to be released first before launching full investigations. The issue is a tricky one. After preliminary investigations, we will seek advice from the Office of the Attorney General because investigations of such nature will need foreign collaboration.”

David Mark Claims Panama Papers Indictment Is Witch-Hunt, Threatens Lawsuit

Former Senate President David Mark says he has no offshore companies operated by Mossack Fonseca, the law firm in the eye of the storm for aiding rich and powerful people evade tax by stashing their wealth away in tax havens.

Reacting to the allegation that he is on the list of Nigerian public officers linked to the firm, Mark, in a statement on Thursday, said “some political elements” were trying to “blackmail and tarnish my hard-earned image”.

“Our attention has been drawn to spurious media reports on the Panama papers in which former president of the senate, Senator David Mark, was alleged to have operated offshore companies,” the statement read.

“For the avoidance of doubt, in the released materials of the Panama Leaks, his name is not listed anywhere in the database of Mossack Fonseca Law Firm. We reiterate categorically, that he is not directly or indirectly connected to any of the companies registered, operated or managed by the Mossack Fonseca Law Firm. We challenge all those behind this propaganda and media outburst to prove or show that Senator Mark’s name was mentioned in the leaks. He is prepared to stand and defend himself against any accusation in relation to this matter.

“Senator Mark’s media team has carried out its own search of the Mossack Fonseca database and found no statement, item or any connection to Senator David Mark or his family. It follows that there is no record whatsoever of any impropriety or wrongdoing.

“We recall that in his quest for senate presidency in 2007, there was an attempt to bring a similar issue to the fore in order to stop him. So what are their fears now in 2016 for regurgitating the same issue?

“Once more, Senator Mark has distanced himself and any member of his family from the said Mossack Fonseca Firm and has no affiliation whatsoever with any company operated, registered or managed by Mossack Fonseca.

“Senator Mark has not contravened any laws of the land and he is treating this for what it is, an attempt to blackmail and tarnish his hard earned image by some political elements.

“As a public officer, Senator Mark has maintained a high level of decorum, respects and observes the laws of the land and believes in the sanctity of the rule of law. He will not be distracted by what is clearly a deliberate mischief and propaganda.

“Records of all his assets are available with the relevant government agencies and can be verified.

“He has consulted his legal team and will take this up accordingly.”

David Mark Says Over 500 People Killed In Agatu Crisis

Over 500 persons were killed and 10 communities destroyed in the recent crisis in Agatu Local Government Area of Benue State, the immediate past Senate President, Senator David Mark, said.

Mark, in a statement by his media aide, Paul Mumeh, described the attack as ‘barbaric, wicked and inhuman.’

“I’m shocked beyond words at the extent of destruction in Agatu. It is unbelievable, unimaginable. Nothing whatsoever justifies this brazen act of wickedness meted out to the people of Agatu. My heart bleeds,” he said.

Mark, who was on  assessment tour of the communities alongside some members of the national and state assemblies from his  constituency, urged security operatives to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to book.

He said that the attacks could not have occurred by accident. He said he suspected an orchestrated   genocide against the people of Agatu.

He told the survivors of the attacks to remain calm and law abiding no matter the level of provocation, just as he assured that the government would intervene to bring succour to them.

Mark advised the people to take advantage of the proposed public hearing by the joint Senate  committee on the crisis to bring the matter to public domain and seek redress.

Agatu Killings: Senator David Mark Alleges Genocide Against His Constituents

The immediate past President of the Senate, Senator David Mark has described as barbaric, wicked and inhuman the massive attacks and destruction of lives and properties in Agatu local government area of Benue State by armed men suspected to be Fulani herdsmen.

He said: “I’m shocked beyond words at the extent of destruction I have seen here in Agatu today. This is unbelievable. It is unimaginable. Nothing whatsoever justifies this brazen act of destruction meted out on the people of Agatu. My heart bleeds.”

Senator Mark, who was on assessment tour of the war ravaged communities along with some members of the National and state Assembly from his Benue South constituency, urged security operatives to do all that was needed to bring the perpetrators to book.

The Senator was of the view that the attacks could not have happened by accident, but a planned and orchestrated genocide against his people of Agatu.

About 10 communities have been raze down to the rubbles, while no fewer than 300 lives have been lost to the recent hostilities.

Some of the villages visited by Senator Mark and his team have been deserted and virtually turned into ghost towns.

The villages are totally bereft of any social or economic activities. All the primary and post primary schools, health centres , worship centres as well as the police station in the area have been burnt down.

What is left of a hitherto boisterous Agatu communities of Aila, Akwu, Adagbo, Okokolo, Ugboju, Odugbeho, Ogbaulu, Egba and Obagaji are the debris of the wreckage.

Mark, however, told the handful of survivors of the attacks to remain calm and law abiding no matter the level of provocation just as assured that the government would intervene to bring succour to them.

Senator Mark advised the people to take advantage of the proposed public hearing by the joint Senate committee on the crisis to bring the matter to public domain and seek redress.

Only last week Senator Mark through a community leader and former commissioner in Benue state Chief John Ngbede distributed relief materials to the survivors .

The former Senate President had counselled the handlers of the relief materials not to discriminate among political party faithful in the distribution of the relief materials, but to ensure that every one benefited, irrespective of party affiliation.

Items distributed included but not limited to mattresses, bags of rice, salt, indomie noodles, clothes as well as toiletries.

Senator Mark also visited one of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps located in Apa local government area, where he counselled the victims to remain calm as authorities would do the needful to ameliorate their situation.

Some of the survivors and community leaders, including Haruna Bawa from Odugbeho, Yakubu Ameh from Adagbo, Stephen Mathew from Aila and Aduba Abraham from Okokolo in their separate remarks alleged that the Fulani herdsmen invaded their communities shooting and killing every thing on sight.

They, therefore, pleaded with the state and federal governments to intervene and help rebuild the wrecked villages and rehabilitate the survivors.

They lamented that besides the dead, a handful of survivors had lost all means of livelihood, submitting that “life is now worthless here”.

Benue South: INEC Declares David Mark Winner

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has declared Senator David Mark of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, winner of the Benue South Senatorial re-run elections which held yesterday.

INEC declared David Mark winner of the Saturday election after defeating his rival, Daniel Onjeh of the All Progressives Congress, APC.

According to INEC, Mark defeated Daniel Onjeh with a total vote cast of 84,192 votes to 71,621.