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Court orders forfeiture of fmr. Senate President Bukola Saraki’s houses in Ikoyi

Valentine Chinyem

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Following charges brought againts former senate president, Bukola Saraki, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), a federal high court sitting in Lagos has ordered the temporary forfeiture of two properties belonging to the former senate leader.

Counsel to the EFCC, Nnaemeka Omewa had enjoined the court to grant an order of interim forfeiture of Saraki’s properties located at 17A McDonald Road, Ikoyi, Eti Osa local government area of Lagos.

He had told the court that they were acquired through “proceeds of unlawful activities”.

Part of the reliefs sought by the EFCC included “An order of this honourable Court forfeiting to the Federal Government of Nigeria 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”.

The commission alleged that while serving as governor of Kwara state, Saraki withdrew over N12 billion cash from the account of the Kwara government and paid same into his accounts domiciled in Access and Zenith Banks through one of his personal assistant, Abdul Adama.

Delivering ruling on the application, Mohammed Liman, the presiding judge, ordered interim forfeiture of the two properties.

He also instructed that the EFCC should publish the order in a national newspaper within 14 days, for anyone with interest in the properties to show cause, why they should not be finally forfeited to the federal government.

The federal government had arraigned Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) while he was the nation’s number three citizen.

He was accused of failing to declare his assets, an allegation he denied, alleging that he was being witch-hunted.

However, the supreme court subsequently dismissed the false assets declaration trial.