The Former Nigerian Senate President and two-term governor of Kwara State, Bukola Saraki, has urged the Federal High Court in Lagos to dismiss a suit filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) praying for the permanent forfeiture of his Ilorin houses.
Saraki described the suit as an abuse of court process and a move to scandalise him. He disagreed that it was a ploy by the EFCC to review the 6th July, 2018 decision of the Supreme Court “discharging the applicant from culpability arising from the same money and houses which are the subject matter of this action.”
The EFCC had in the suit filed before Justice Rilwan Aikawa claimed that the houses – Plots No. 10 and No. 11 Abdulkadir Road, GRA, Ilorin, Kwara State – were acquired with proceeds of unlawful activities allegedly perpetrated by Saraki while he was Kwara State governor between 2003 and 2011.
Justice Aikawa had on 2nd December, 2019 ordered the temporary forfeiture of the houses to the Federal Government.
The judge adjourned for Saraki to appear before him to give reasons why the houses should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.
In response, Saraki, through his lawyer, Kehinde Ogunwumiju (SAN), filed a preliminary objection, challenging the territorial jurisdiction of the court to entertain the suit.
Ogunwumiju said the new suit by the EFCC was an abuse of court processes because it was filed at a time when a suit on the same subject matter was still pending before the Federal High Court in Abuja.
According to him, in the Abuja suit, Justice Taiwo Taiwo had on May 14, 2019 made an order for parties to stay action on the subject matter pending the determination of an originating motion on notice.
The ex-Kwara governor said the new EFCC’s suit was meant to “irritate, annoy and scandalise” him and urged Justice Aikawa to dismiss it.
The judge on Tuesday 21st January, 2020 adjourned the case until 5th February to take arguments on Saraki’s objection.