Inside Nigeria

Saraki Fights Back, Blasts EFCC Over Seizure of Ilorin Residence

Former Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki has dismissed the latest order of interim forfeiture on his Ilorin home by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Saraki who was pained by the step said the order was an abuse of the court process and a violation of a subsisting order of the Federal High Court, Abuja and would not stand.

Saraki, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, noted that the Federal High Court in Abuja presided by Justice Taiwo Taiwo had given an order “restraining the respondents (Commission) by themselves, their subordinates, agents, servants, or privies howsoever, from seizing, impounding, taking over, confiscating or otherwise forfeiting the Applicant’s (Saraki) right to own and peacefully enjoy any of his assets and properties”.

“The EFCC’s claim that the Ilorin property was built by any proceed of fraud is outrightly false. The fact is that the Ilorin property was built partly by the Kwara State Government pursuant to the Third Schedule of the Governor and Deputy Governor (Payment of Pension) Law 2010 while Dr. Saraki personally funded the remaining cost of the building. There are existing letters from the Office of the Head of Service of Kwara State notifying the former Governor (Saraki) of the State Government’s compliance with the State Pension for Governor’s law and the one indicating his intention to bear the cost of the additional expenditure that will arise from building the property to his desired taste dated 25th January 2012 and 8th February 2012 respectively.

“The construction of the building did not commence until the last few weeks of Dr. Saraki’s tenure as Governor and the bulk of his contribution to the funding were made with cheques. Where cash was involved, this was mainly in 2012 and 2013, more than a year after he had left office as Governor. So, where is the claim that the money for the construction of the house fraudulent obtained from Kwara State Government coming from? It should also be noted that the land on which the house is built is not a government allocated land.

“One can only see that EFCC is playing politics and spreading falsehood in its cheap attempt to witch-hunt and intimidate a perceived enemy. We are also surprised that the EFCC could not even hide its penchant for abusing the nation’s judicial institution as it engaged in forum shopping when it filed a suit in Lagos on a property situate in Ilorin.

“We will like to restate our earlier position that Dr. Saraki will contest this matter in the court at least to further attest to his belief in the rule of law, the sanctity of the courts and their enduring readiness to do justice in all matters and to all persons”, Olaniyonu stated

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