By Innocent Anaba
Lagos—FORMER Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, has urged a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos to dismiss the suit by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, praying for the permanent forfeiture of his Ilorin, Kwara State houses.
Saraki, former governor of the state described the suit as an abuse of court processes and a move 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.”
The EFCC had, in the suit 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 December 2, 2019 ordered the temporary forfeiture of the houses to the Federal Government.
The judge adjourned for Saraki to appear before him to give reasons the houses should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.
In response, Saraki, through his lawyer, Kehinde Ogunwumiju, SAN, in a preliminary objection, challenging the territorial jurisdiction of the court to entertain the suit, argued that 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 matter was still pending at the Federal High Court in Abuja.
According to him, in the Abuja suit, trial judge, 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.
“Despite the pendency of the above-captioned suit, service of the originating processes and the subsistence of the aforesaid order of this court, the respondent surreptitiously commenced suit No.FHC/L/CS/1867/2019 between the EFCC v Dr Bukola Saraki on October 14, 2019, in this court where it seeks orders aimed at neutralising the order of the Abuja division of this court,” he said.
He said the new EFCC’s suit was meant to “irritate, annoy and scandalise” him and urged Justice Aikawa to dismiss it.
The judge, yesterday, adjourned till February 5 to take arguments on Saraki’s objection.
The EFCC, in the suit, told the court that it received “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.