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House Forfeiture: EFCC Repeating Same Old Story – Saraki

Former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki on Friday reiterated that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is repeating the “same old story” in its application for forfeiture of his home in Ilorin, Kwara State. Saraki’s lawyers had appeared before Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the Federal High Court, Lagos, to oppose the application by the EFCC.

According to Saraki, the home was funded partly “with funds provided by Kwara State Government in fulfillment of the Governor and Deputy Governor (Payment of Pension) Law 2010 of Kwara State.”

Saraki explained that his team of lawyers led by Mr. Kehinde Ogunwumiju, SAN, argued that all the exaggerated claims by the EFCC on withdrawal of government money and its use to acquire property were the same claims made before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court between September 22, 2015 and July 6, 2018 when all the courts concluded and gave judgement respectively to the effect that there was no prima facie case established against Saraki.

The statement signed by his media aide, Yusuph Olaniyonu said, “It should be noted specifically that Count 7 of the decided case which went up to Supreme Court states as follows: “That you, Dr. Olubukola Abubakar Saraki….(made) various lodgements into your Guaranty Trust Bank account at GT Bank GRA, Ilorin, through your aides as the Governor of Kwara State and your account officer and which funds you handed over to them in cash at the Kwara State Government House…which were not fairly attributable to your income, gifts or loans…”

“The same old story is being repeated by the EFCC before Justice Aikawa at the FHC, Lagos.”

The lawyers also submitted before Justice Aikawa that EFCC produced no new evidence different from what was presented before the CCT and the appellate courts in 2015. This, according to Saraki amounted to “re-opening a case that had been decided up to the Supreme Court. This is just a case of bringing back through the back door a case they had earlier lost.”

Saraki’s lawyers also argued before the court that the claim of transfer of funds belonging to Kwara State Government “has no evidential link to Saraki as there was no document or instruction or testimony by any witness linking him to any such illegal transfer of money.”

“We will like, for emphasis, to state that the fictitious claims by EFCC of a certain amount being taken from government coffers and deposited by aides have no basis, is totally untrue and a fabricated lie.

“The agency has not produced any oral or documentary evidence of approval, instruction or endorsement by Dr. Saraki as proof of such act. These claims made newspaper headlines when they were first thrown into the public space by the same EFCC in September 2015 during the CCT trial and no evidence has been produced in support of such claim. They remain mere headline-grabbing stunt.”

“We hereby assure the associates and supporters of Dr. Saraki that he remains unflinching in his belief in the ability of the Nigerian judiciary to always do justice to all persons and at all times. We believe that justice shall prevail in this case, as well,” the statement added.

EFCC told the Federal High Court in Lagos that Saraki diverted not less than N10 billion belonging to Kwara State. The agency said he diverted the sum in monthly tranches of N100 million between 2003 and 2011 while he was Kwara State governor, saying that he spent N1.09 billion out of the N10b Federal allocation to build two houses in Ilorin.

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