Nigeria: Court Orders Forfeiture of Saraki's Property

Former senate president Bukola Saraki
21 October 2019

The Lagos Division of the Federal High Court on Monday has ordered the temporary forfeiture of two properties located in the Ikoyi area of Lagos State and belonging to the immediate past senate president, Bukola Saraki, to the Federal Government.

Mohammed Liman, the judge, who ordered the temporary forfeiture on Monday, also gave 14 days for anyone with an interest in the properties to show cause.

According to a statement by the anti-corruption agency, EFCC, the properties are located at No. 17A McDonald Road, Ikoyi, Eti Osa Local Government Area of Lagos.

The EFCC said the forfeiture followed an ex parte application filed by its counsel, Nnaemeka Omewa, that the properties were acquired through proceeds of unlawful activities.

The Commission also alleged in a supporting affidavit that Mr Saraki, who served two terms as Kwara State Governor between 2003 and 2011, "withdrew over N12 billion 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, Mr Omewa, said the court was empowered to order the temporary forfeiture of the landed asset to the Federal Government.

Delivering ruling on the application, Justice Liman ordered the interim forfeiture of the two properties.

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He also instructed that the EFCC should publish the order in a national newspaper.

After ordering the temporary forfeiture of the properties, the judge gave 14 days for anyone with an interest in the properties to show cause why they should not be finally forfeited to the Federal Government.

The EFCC had in May marked the houses traced to the former Senate president for an alleged case of conspiracy, abuse of office, misappropriation of public funds, theft, and money-laundering.

The agency's probe of Mr Saraki, however, started when it wrote the Kwara State Government demanding a breakdown of Mr Saraki's income, as well as his entitlements as governor of the state.

The houses had been the subject of Mr Saraki's arraignment at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), which acquitted him in 2017.

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