A Federal High Court in Lagos has reversed its order forfeiting to the Federal Government two houses in Ilorin belonging to former Senate President Bukola Saraki brought to it by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
While delivering judgment on the application filed by the EFCC, seeking to permanently forfeit the houses to the Federal Government, Justice Rilwan Aikawa ordered that the houses be released back to Saraki.
The judge said he found no sufficient basis in the EFCC application and he could not “find my way through” to grant the permanent forfeiture order.
In its application, the EFCC had told the court how it received and investigated “a damning intelligence report showing monumental fraud perpetrated in the treasury of the Kwara State Government between 2003 and 2011,” when Saraki was the governor of the state.
One of the EFCC operative Olamide Sadiq who investigated the case said, “Whilst 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 payment of monthly allocation by the Federal Government to the Kwara State Government, a cumulative sum of not less than N100 million will be deposited into the Kwara Government House account.
“That upon the payment of the said N100 million, same will in turn be withdrawn in cash by one Mr Afeez Yusuf from the Kwara State Government House, Ilorin’s account in bits and brought to the Government House.”
However, Saraki had, through his lawyer, Kehinde Ogunwumiju,SAN, described the EFCC suit as an abuse of court process and an attempt to scandalise him.
The EFCC had in December last year secured a court order for the interim forfeiture of the houses – Plots No. 10 and No. 11 Abdulkadir Road, GRA, Ilorin, Kwara State after telling the court that they were acquired with proceeds of unlawful activities allegedly perpetrated by Saraki while he was Kwara State Governor between 2003 and 2011.