Saraki kicks as EFCC moves to secure final forfeiture of his property

Senator Bukola Saraki
Senator Bukola Saraki

Immediate past Senate President, Dr. Bukonla Saraki on Thursday, opposed an application before a Federal High Court, Lagos, seeking final forfeiture of two of his Ikoyi, houses.

The said houses are located at 17 and 17A McDonald Road, Ikoyi, Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had obtained an interim order of forfeiture on the houses in November 2019.

Justice Mohammed Liman had then adjourned the case for any interested party to appear and show cause why a permanent order should not be made.

The court had also ordered that the interim order be published in a national newspaper to alert such interested parties.

EFCC applied to the court to forfeit the houses to the government, on the grounds that they were obtained with loans from GTBank and repaid back with Kwara State fund.

Saraki’s counsel, Mr Kehinde Ogunwunmiju, SAN, informed the court that he was already a successful businessman with properties worldwide before he became a senator.

He said that the EFCC must satisfy the court that the houses formed part of the proceeds of any unlawful act by the respondent.

Respondent’s Counsel informed the court that both the interim and the attempted permanent forfeiture of the two houses were an abuse of court process.

Counsel further argued that the EFCC was also estopped from re-litigating on the same property because it had litigated on the same before the Code of Conduct Tribunal ( CCT ) up to the Supreme Court but lost.

He said that Justice Taiwo Taiwo had made an order restraining EFCC from filing such a case adding that the order was still subsisting.

Meanwhile, some of the facts presented by the EFCC before the court are that Saraki while serving as Governor of Kwara, was deducting N100 million from security votes to defray the loan.

EFCC counsel, Mr. Nnaemeka Omenwa argued that the Judgment of the CCT dismissing the case did not vest property right on Saraki.

He urged the court not to be persuaded by the argument of counsel but rule in favour of the applicant.

Liman has adjourned until April 24 for judgment.