Story By Gbenga Ogunbufunmi
A Federal High Court, Lagos sitting in Lagos today, ordered the interim forfeiture of two properties located at Ikoyi area of Lagos State, said to belong to the immediate past Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
The court presided over by Justice’s Muhammed Liman, made the order of interim forfeiture on Saraki’s properties while delivering ruling on an exparte application for the interim Forfeiture filed by the Ilorin Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC), through one of its lawyers, Nnaemeka Omewa, who had approached the Court for the order.
EFCC had sought the order of interim forfeiture of the properties, on the ground that they were acquired through proceeds of unlawful activities.
The Commission had sought for four orders before in respect of the controversial properties.
Part of the reliefs sought by the EFCC include “an order of the Court forfeiting to the Federal Government of Nigeria the 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 ”
“An Interim Order of the Court forfeiting to the Federal Government of Nigeria the Landed Property with its appurtenances situate, lying and known as No 17 McDonald Road, Ikoyi in Eti Osa Local Government Area, Lagos State found and recovered from the respondent which property is reasonably suspected to have been acquired with proceeds of unlawful activity”.
Ruling of the application, Justice Liman held that: “relying on the application before me with the affidavit and written address, all issues raised are resolved in favour of the applicant, the application is succeed and its hereby granted”.
Justice Liman also ordered the EFCC to publish the order of forfeiture of the two properties in a National Daily within fourteen days for any interested party or parties to show cause while the properties will not be permanently forfeited to the Federal government of Nigeria.
The EFCC in an affidavit deposed to by one Olamide Sadiq, an investigator with the commission, alleged that the Former President of the Nigerian Senate acquired the two properties with proceeds of unlawful activity.
Part of the affidavit reads, “trend of cash lodgments into Saraki’s account became suspicious and in order to further disguise the source and origin of this money, the respondent changed the pattern of payment and started making payments into accounts (exhibit EFCC 3) using fictitious names”.
The EFCC further alleged that Saraki, a former Nigeria Number three Citizen while serving as the Executive Governor of Kwara State, withdrew over N12 billion cash from the account of the Kwara State Government and paid directly into his account domiciled in Zenith and other Banks through one of his Personal Assistant, Abdul Adama at different intervals.
The matter has been adjourned till November 7, 2019, for report of compliance.