A file picture of former Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki.
A Federal Excessive Courtroom sitting in Lagos has fastened April 27 for its judgment within the case filed by the Financial and Monetary Crimes Fee (EFCC) searching for the ultimate forfeiture of two homes in Ilorin, Kwara State, belonging to a former Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki.
Justice Rilwan Aikawa fastened the date on Thursday after listening to arguments for and in opposition to the ultimate forfeiture of the homes to the Federal Authorities.
In its submission earlier than the court docket, counsel to the anti-graft company, Rotimi Oyedepo, mentioned the previous Senate President spent N1.09 billion on the 2 homes, funds which he alleged have been stolen from the coffers of Kwara State.
The EFCC claimed that it had proof that Saraki, who was Kwara State governor between 2003 and 2011, diverted not lower than N1 billion belonging to the state.
It later obtained an interim order briefly forfeiting the homes – Plots No. 10 and No. 11 Abdulkadir Street, GRA, Ilorin, Kwara State – to the Federal Authorities On December 2, 2019.
The fee urged the court docket to make the interim forfeiture order everlasting, a transfer that Saraki, by way of his lawyer, Mr Kehinde Ogunwunmiju, vehemently opposed.
In an affidavit filed earlier than the court docket, an officer of the EFCC, Bilikisu Buhari, mentioned the anti-graft company discovered that whereas he was governor, Saraki allegedly diverted N100 million on a month-to-month foundation from the federal allocation to the state.
She claimed that the cash was normally diverted from the Kwara State authorities account to the account of the Kwara State Authorities Home.
Buhari added that following the switch, one Mr Afeez Yusuf, performing on Saraki’s directions, normally went to withdraw the cash from the Kwara State Authorities Home account and took the case to the Authorities Home.
She mentioned, “After the funds have been stacked within the Kwara State Authorities Home, it was then fraudulently dissipated and brought away in money by Messrs Abdul Adama, Ubi Ofem and Ubi Austin, performing on the directions and course of Dr Bukola Saraki in violent breach of public belief.
“That on this scheme of fraud alone, about N10 billion was fraudulently diverted from the treasury of the Kwara State authorities.
“That a part of the proceeds of the aforementioned fraud have been fairly suspected to have been comingled with different funds used for the event of the property sought to be forfeited.”
Buhari mentioned Adama, Ofem, and Austin, utilizing fictitious names, normally paid the diverted N100 million into the financial institution accounts of contractors who constructed the homes.
Opposing the appliance for the ultimate forfeiture of his shopper’s homes, Ogunwunmiju who’s a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), mentioned they have been constructed from his professional earnings.
He mentioned N252.2 million out of the N1.09 billion used for growing the property represented what Saraki was paid for the event of a five-bedroom condo, which he was entitled to as a two-term governor of Kwara State.
Ogunwunmiju additionally drew the eye of Justice Aikawa to the Governor and Deputy Governor (Cost of Pension) Regulation 2010 of Kwara State, which stipulated that an elected two-term governor of the state was entitled to a 5 and four-bedroomed duplex, respectively, at any location of their alternative inside Kwara State.
He mentioned reasonably than enable the state to construct the home for him, Saraki selected to gather N252.2 million so he might add cash to it to construct a home to his style.
The lawyer argued that if it was true, as alleged by the EFCC that the doc resulting in the discharge of the N252.2 million was solid by an official of the Kwara State Authorities, the cost to Saraki was nonetheless not illegitimate as a result of it was offered for below the regulation.
He, due to this fact, requested the court docket to dismiss the EFCC’s utility for being an abuse of court docket processes, saying the identical points had been taken earlier than the Code of Conduct Tribunal, the Courtroom of Attraction, and the Supreme Courtroom the place Saraki was vindicated.
However counsel to the EFCC, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, countered by insisting that so long as Saraki failed to clarify how he got here in regards to the over N700 million, which he added to the N252.2 million to develop the homes, they have been liable to be forfeited to the Federal Authorities.
After the arguments that lasted over 5 hours, Justice Aikawa fastened April 27 for judgment.