Court orders temporary forfeiture of Ex-Senate President Saraki’s houses

Ex-Senate President Bukola Saraki

Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday ordered the temporary forfeiture of two houses belonging to Ex-Senate President Bukola Saraki in Ilorin, the capital of Kwara State.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had told the court that the houses were acquired by Saraki with crime proceeds.

The anti-graft noted that it had uncovered monumental fraud perpetrated in the treasury of the Kwara State Government during Saraki’s time as Governor of Kwara from 2003 to 2011.

According to Olamide Sadiq, an operative of the EFCC, an investigative committee was setup to review the sales of properties belonging to Kwara State Government during Saraki’s tenure as governor.

Sadiq in an affidavit noted that the commission received “a damning intelligence report, showing monumental fraud perpetrated in the treasury of the Kwara State Government between 2003 and 2011.”

“Whilst the 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 the payment of monthly allocation by the Federal Government to the Kwara State Government, a cumulative sum of not less than N100m would be deposited into the Kwara Government House account.

“That upon the payment of the said N100m, same would, in turn, be withdrawn in cash by one Mr Afeez Yusuf from the Kwara State Government House, Ilorin’s account in bits and brought to the Government House.”

According to the EFCC, Saraki who was governor of the state at the time developed the two properties located at Plots No. 10 and No. 11 Abdulkadir Road, GRA, Ilorin, Kwara State, with illicit proceeds.

The EFCC consequently through its lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, urged the court to order the temporary forfeiture of the properties to Federal Government.

Justice Aikawa in his ruling on the ex parte application filed by the EFCC pursuant to Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act No. 14, 2006, ordered the EFCC to seize the two properties.

The judge who adjourned the case till December 17 further ordered the EFCC to publish the temporary forfeiture order in a national newspaper for anyone interested in the properties to appear before the court and give reason why the properties should not be forfeited permanently.

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