Former Kwara State governor and ex-Senate President, Bukola Saraki has reacted to a court judgment ordering the forfeiture of two of his houses in Ikoyi, Lagos State.
The Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday ordered temporary forfeiture of Saraki’s two properties in Ikoyi following an ex parte application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The EFCC said the landed property located at No. 17A McDonald Road, Ikoyi, was reasonably suspected to have been acquired with proceeds of unlawful activity by Saraki, who served two terms as Kwara State Governor between 2003 and 2011.
According to EFCC, Saraki “withdrew over N12bn cash from the account of the Kwara State Government and paid same into his accounts domiciled in Access and Zenith Banks through one of his personal assistants, Abdul Adama, at different intervals.”
The EFCC lawyer, Nnaemeka Omewa, said the court was empowered to order the temporary forfeiture of the landed asset to the Federal Government.
Justice Mohammed Liman agreed with him and ordered the temporary forfeiture of the property.
The judge also directed the EFCC to publish the order in a national newspaper, and gave 14 days for Saraki or anyone interested in the property to appear before him to show cause why the property should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.
In a swift reaction via his Twitter handle, the ex-Kwara State governor said: “My attention has been drawn to an Order granted by a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos pursuant to an ex-parte application by EFCC.
“It is my belief that the judge was misled into granting this Order and was not presented with the full position of the law or the facts.
“It is my belief that the Court was not informed of a pending Order of a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja restraining EFCC from taking any steps regarding the seizure of the property in question pending the determination of a suit filed before that Court.
“I also believe that the Court was not made aware that the property in question formed part of the judgment of the Court given on July 6, 2018 where the Supreme Court declared that the source of funds for the purchase of the property was not illicit as claimed by the prosecution.
“The Supreme Court specifically referred to No 17a McDonald Road, Ikoyi on pages 12, 13 and 26 of its judgment upholding the no-case submission made before the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
“I am confident that once these facts and the declaration of the Supreme Court are brought before the Court, this Order will be vacated.
“My lawyers will be approaching the Court immediately to achieve this.”
According to him, the EFCC was on a wild goose chase, as he nothing to fear despite being probed as Senate President and as two-term Kwara State governor.