FEDERAL HIGH COURT REFUSES TO ORDER FORFEITURE OF SENATOR OLUBUKOLA SARAKI’S PROPERTIES.
SARAKI SURVIVES WITCH-HUNT.
Recall that the EFCC through its counsel Nnaemeka Omewa Esq. had filed an application for the forfeiture of Senator Saraki’s properties at No. 17 and 17B Macdonald Street, Ikoyi, Lagos. EFCC contended that the properties were acquired illegally with funds belonging to Kwara State. Senator Saraki through his counsel Kehinde Ogunwumiju SAN raised a preliminary objection to the forfeiture action and filed a substantive opposition to it. Arguments were taken on the 5th March 2020.
In delivering the ruling of the Court today 8th June 2020, Hon. Justice Hassan Liman of the Lagos Judicial Division of the Federal High Court held that the Court had jurisdiction to entertain the case. His Lordship further held that the evidence before the Court was to the effect that the properties in issue were acquired by Senator Olubukola Saraki with a loan from GTBANK and not with illegal or unlawful funds or funds belonging to Kwara State. His Lordship further held that there was no evidence before the Court linking the loan repayments made by Senator Saraki to funds belonging to Kwara State therefore there is no basis for ordering the forfeiture of the properties.
Lastly, the Court held that in view of the inconsistencies and contradictions in the affidavits deposed to and relied upon by EFCC it could not make a forfeiture order in favour of EFCC and the proper course of action would be to order the witnesses of the EFCC to proffer oral evidence for the purpose of clarifying the said contradictions.
The matter was accordingly adjourned to the 29th of September 2020 for EFCC to call its witnesses.