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Court orders EFFC to return Saraki’s houses

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Bukola-Saraki

The Federal High Court in Lagos on Thursday reversed its order forfeiting to the Federal Government two houses in Ilorin belonging to a former Senate President , Bukola Saraki .
The court, in a judgment by Justice Rilwan Aikawa , released the houses back to Saraki , while delivering judgment on an application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission , seeking to permanently forfeit the houses to the Federal Government .
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 .
But attempts by the EFCC to convert the temporary forfeiture order to a permanent forfeiture order was vehemently resisted by Saraki , leading eventually to the discharge of the temporary forfeiture order on Thursday by Justice Aikawa .
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 .
An operative of the EFCC , Olamide Sadiq 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 othersThat 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 N 100 m will be deposited into the Kwara Government House account.
“ That upon the payment of the said N 100m , same will , in turn , be withdrawn in cash by one Mr Afeez Yusuf from the Kwara State Government House , Ilorin ’s account in bits and brought to the Government House . ”
But Saraki had , through his lawyer , Kehinde Ogunwumiju ( SAN ) , described the EFCC suit as an abuse of court process and an attempt to scandalise him .
He argued that it was a ploy by the EFCC to review the July 6 , 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 .

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