Court orders forfeiture of Saraki’s houses to FG

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Monday secured an order of the Federal High Court in Lagos for the forfeiture of two houses in Ilorin, Kwara State, belonging to a former Senate President, Bukola Saraki.

The EFCC told the court it uncovered monumental fraud perpetrated in the treasury of the Kwara State Government between 2003 and 2011, when Saraki was the governor of the state.

Based on an ex parte application filed by the EFCC pursuant to Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act No. 14, 2006, Justice Rilwan Aikawa ordered the temporary forfeiture of Saraki’s two properties designated as Plots No. 10 and No. 11 Abdulkadir Road, GRA, Ilorin, Kwara State.

An operative of the EFCC, Olamide Sadiq, said in an affidavit filed in support of the ex parte application that the EFCC moved to have the two houses forfeited after investigating “the report of a committee set up to review sales of Kwara State Government properties during the reign of the Governor of Kwara State between 2003 and 2011.”

Sadiq said the EFCC also received “a damning intelligence report, showing monumental fraud perpetrated in the treasury of the Kwara State Government between 2003 and 2011.”

He said, “Whilst the investigation was ongoing, several fraudulent transactions were discovered.

“I know for a fact and verily believe that our investigation has revealed the following mind-boggling findings, among others:

“That between 2003 and 2011, Dr Olubukola Abubakar Saraki was the Executive Governor of Kwara State.

“That whilst he held the aforementioned position, the common pattern was that after the payment of monthly allocation by the Federal Government to the Kwara State Government, a cumulative sum of not less than N100m would be deposited into the Kwara Government House account.

“That upon the payment of the said N100m, same would, in turn, be withdrawn in cash by one Mr Afeez Yusuf from the Kwara State Government House, Ilorin’s account in bits and brought to the Government House.”

The EFCC said it believed that Saraki developed the two properties with proceeds of unlawful activities.

Counsel for the commission, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, urged Justice Aikawa to order their temporary forfeiture to the Federal Government.

After granting the order as prayed, Justice Aikawa directed the EFCC to publish the temporary forfeiture order in a national newspaper and adjourned till December 17 for anyone interested in the properties to appear before him to show cause why the properties should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.

Reacting to the judgment, Saraki maintained his position that the application to the Federal High Court, Lagos, for interim forfeiture order on his Ilorin home by the EFCC was an abuse of the court process and a violation of a subsisting order of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

Saraki in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, vowed to challenge the verdict at a higher court of competent jurisdiction.

Written by Oladimeji Ramon, published on Punch Newspapers