A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has today lifted the order of interim forfeiture against immediate former Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki’s retirement property in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.
The court also dismissed the application of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for the final forfeiture of same property.
The EFCC had through its counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo Esq. filed an application in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/2163/2019 for the forfeiture of Senator Saraki’s property at Plots 10 and 11 Abdulkadir Road, GRA Ilorin.
The EFCC argued that the property was acquired illegally with funds belonging to Kwara State.
However, Senator Saraki through his counsel, Kehinde Ogunwumiju SAN raised a preliminary objection to the forfeiture action and filed a substantive opposition to it.
The Federal High Court took the arguments of both sides on the 27th of February 2020.
Delivering the ruling of the court today, 16th of July 2020, Hon. Justice Aikawa of the Lagos Judicial Division of the Federal High Court dismissed Senator Saraki’s objection, and held that the court had jurisdiction to entertain the case.
He further held that the evidence before the court was to the effect that the property was substantially financed with money paid to the ex-governor in line with the Kwara State Governor and Deputy Governor Payment of Pension Law which provides that a two term governor is entitled to a house within the state upon completion of his second tenure.
The Judge ruled that the argument of EFCC that the property was acquired by illegal funds was based on mere suspicion and therefore the court could not proceed to order final forfeiture of the property since EFCC had an obligation to prove its case on the preponderance of evidence.
The Ravens can report that the court discharged the interim order for forfeiture it had earlier granted in favour of the EFCC on the 2nd of December 2019, as it also dismissed the substantive application for final forfeiture.