- Bukola Saraki has reacted to forfeiture order on his Ilorin houses
- Federal High Court in Lagos had on Monday, December 2, ordered interim forfeiture of his property
- Saraki, however, described the agency’s action as an abuse of court process
Bukola Saraki, the former Senate president, has reacted over interim forfeiture order on his two houses in Ilorin, Kwara state, by the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos state.
Vanguard reports that Saraki in a statement issued by his special adviser on media and publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, said the interim forfeiture order on his Ilorin home by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was an abuse of the court process and a violation of a subsisting order of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Legit.ng gathered he said that the Federal High Court in Abuja presided by Justice Taiwo Taiwo had given an order restraining the respondents (commission) by themselves, their subordinates, agents, servants, or privies howsoever, from seizing, impounding, taking over, confiscating or otherwise forfeiting the applicant's (Saraki's) right to own and peacefully enjoy any of his assets and properties.
“The EFCC’s claim that the Ilorin property was built by any proceeds of fraud is outright false. The fact is that the Ilorin property was built partly by the Kwara state government pursuant to the third schedule of the governor and deputy governor (payment of pension) law 2010 while Saraki personally funded the remaining cost of the building.
“There are existing letters from the office of the head of service of Kwara state notifying the former governor (Saraki) of the state government’s compliance with the state pension for governor’s law and the one indicating his intention to bear the cost of the additional expenditure that will arise from building the property to his desired taste dated 25th January 2012 and 8th February 2012 respectively," the statement read.
He said the construction of the building did not commence until the last few weeks of Saraki’s tenure as governor and the bulk of his contribution to the funding were made with cheques.
The statement added: “So, where is the claim that the money for the construction of the house fraudulent obtained from Kwara state government coming from? It should also be noted that the land on which the house is built is not a government allocated land.
“One can only see that EFCC is playing politics and spreading falsehood in its cheap attempt to witch-hunt and intimidate a perceived enemy. We are also surprised that the EFCC could not even hide its penchant for abusing the nation’s judicial institution as it engaged in forum shopping when it filed a suit in Lagos on a property situated in Ilorin."
Olaniyonu noted that as a special assistant to ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo on budget matters, between 2000 and 2002, Saraki initiated the passage of the fiscal responsibility act and public procurement act.
He added that both laws were aimed at ensuring macro-economic stability and efficiency in government procurement through greater accountability and transparency.
“As governor of Kwara state, he waived his immunity to enable his regime be probed. He is, perhaps, the most investigated individual, in the nation’s democratic history. However, each time, Saraki has been given a clean bill of probity and health. It should be noted that seven separate investigations were instigated on Saraki during his time in office as governor.
“In September 2006, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, then chairman of EFCC, took to the floor of the Senate to give a clean bill to six states, of which Kwara state where Saraki was then governor was one. Under Ribadu’s successor, Farida Waziri’s chairmanship, local government councils in Kwara state were investigated in 2010 when Saraki joined the presidential race," he added.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Monday, December 2, ordered the forfeiture of two houses in Ilorin, Kwara state belonging to Saraki.
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