The immediate past president of Nigeria’s Senate, Bukola Saraki, has said that the Federal High Court, Lagos, was wrong to have ordered an interim forfeiture of his two houses in Ilorin, Kwara State, to the federal Government.
Nigeria’s anti-graft commission, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), had told the court that it uncovered monumental fraud perpetrated in the treasury of the Kwara State Government between 2003 and 2011, when Saraki was the governor of the north-central state.
The EFCC believes that the properties were acquired via proceeds of unlawful activities.
In a statement on Monday, the anti-graft agency said part of the reliefs sought by the EFCC included ”An order of this honourable Court forfeiting to the Federal Government of Nigeria landed property with appurtenances situate, lying and known as No. 17A McDonald Road, Ikoyi, Eti Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State found and recovered from the respondent which property is reasonably suspected to have been acquired with proceeds of unlawful activity.
“The Commission in supporting affidavits, alleged that the former Senate President acquired the two properties with proceeds of unlawful activity; that while serving as governor of Kwara State, he withdrew over twelve billion cash from the account of the Kwara Government and paid same into his accounts domiciled in Access and Zenith Banks through one of his personal assistant, Abdul Adama, at different intervals.”
But Saraki, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, reiterated that the application by the EFCC is an abuse of the court process and a violation of a subsisting order of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Olaniyonu noted that Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the court in Abuja had given an order “restraining the respondents (EFCC) by themselves, their subordinates, agents, servants, or privies whosoever, from seizing, impounding, taking over, confiscating or otherwise forfeiting the Applicant’s (Saraki) right to own and peacefully enjoy any of his assets and properties.”