Saturday, April 17, 2021

Nigeria: Ex-Senate President Saraki to lose home as court orders interim forfeiture in corruption case


A Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Monday, ordered the interim forfeiture of the Ilorin residence of the immediate past Senate President, Bukola Saraki.

In a statement issued by the EFCC on Monday, it said the judge, Rilwan Aikawa, gave the order, after an ex-parte application by the commission

According to the statement, the property located at 1, Abdulkadir Street, GRA, Ilorin, Kwara State, was ‘seized’ on the grounds that it was acquired with proceeds of unlawful activity.

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Ruling on the application, Mr Aikawa ordered the interim forfeiture of the property.

He also directed the applicant to cause the order to be published in a national newspaper and invite anyone ”with an interest in the property to show cause, why the mansion valued at over a billion naira, should not be forfeited to the Federal Government.”

The recent forfeiture comes days after the two-term governor of Kwara State accused the EFCC of plotting to secure a forfeit order on his home in Ilorin.

“The court had restrained the respondents (EFCC) by itself, subordinates, agents, servants, or privies howsoever, from seizing, impounding, taking over, confiscating or otherwise forfeiting the applicant’s (Saraki) right to and peacefully enjoy any of his assets and properties,” an irate Mr Saraki said in a statement by his media aide, Yusuph Olaniyonu.

The EFCC in October had also secured an interim forfeiture of Mr Saraki’s Ikoyi, Lagos State home through a judge of the Lagos Division Federal High Court, Mohammed Limana.

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The court also gave 14 days for anyone with an interest in the properties to show cause why it should not be permanently forfeited.

The Probe

Mr Saraki has been repeatedly investigated by the EFCC since he was Kwara State governor.

During the recent investigation, the EFCC wrote a letter to the Kwara State Government demanding a breakdown of Mr Saraki’s income, as well as his entitlements as governor of the state.

The agency said it was investigating Mr Saraki for an alleged case of conspiracy, abuse of office, misappropriation of public funds, theft, and money-laundering.

Before being elected to the Senate in 2011, Mr Saraki was the governor of Kwara State between 2003 and 2011.

In reaction, Mr Saraki, who was once a prominent leader in the ruling APC, had described moves to probe him as politically-motivated and a witch-hunt.

Mr Saraki, a leader of the main opposition party, PDP, said the agency was investigating matters that were already settled.

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