Bukola Saraki, former senate president, has accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of attempting to seize his house in Ilorin, capital of Kwara state.
In a statement Yusuph Olaniyonu, his spokesman, issued on his behalf, Saraki said the anti-graft agency filed a process at a federal high court in Lagos on Wednesday, seeking interim order of the court for the forfeiture of another of his property.
Last month, a federal high court in Lagos ordered an interim forfeiture of two houses of the ex-senate president in Ikoyi, Lagos.
In his statement, Saraki described the fresh action of the EFCC as an abuse of court process, explaining that a federal high court in Abuja had restrained the commission from seizing his properties.
Saraki, a two-term governor of Kwara, is being investigated by the anti-graft agency, which alleged that while serving as governor of Kwara between 2003 and 2011, he withdrew over N12 billion cash from the account of the Kwara government and paid same into his accounts domiciled in Access and Zenith Banks through one of his personal assistant, Abdul Adama.
But in his statement, the former number three citizen said the house which the EFCC is currently targetting was built with his personal fund, after he left office as governor of Kwara.
“It has come to the attention of former Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, that the has again this afternoon filed yet another process in the Federal High Court, Lagos, in which it is seeking the interim order of the court for the forfeiture of his home in Ilorin,” the statement read.
“This move, just like the previous one the anti-graft agency made by filing for a similar in the same court on Saraki’s Ikoyi House, is a clear abuse of the court process, violation of an existing order of a court of similar jurisdiction, disrespect of the judicial institution and therefore, amounts to forum shopping which shows that the EFCC is only engaging in act of vendetta as opposed to fighting corruption.
“This action of the EFCC runs contrary to the statement of the nation’s highest ranking judicial officer, Hon. Justice Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed who stated that: ‘The rule of law must be observed in all our dealings and we must impress it on the governments at all levels to actively toe the path. The right of every citizen against any form of oppression and impunity must be jealously guarded and protected with the legal tools at our disposal. All binding court orders must be obeyed. Nobody, irrespective of his or her position, will be allowed to toy with court judgements. As we all know, flagrant disobedience of court orders is a direct invitation to anarchy in the country. Such acts are completely antithetical to rule of law in a democratic environment and will not be tolerated under my watch as Chief Justice or Nigeria’
“Dr. Saraki is equally surprised that EFCC which prides itself as an institution that is built on the rule of law has decided to ignore the existing order of the Federal High Court, Abuja “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 town and peacefully enjoy any of his assets and properties.
“We will like to put it on record that the Ilorin home of Dr. Saraki was built after he left office as Governor and came about through his lawful pensions and personal fund. The application for forfeiture of this property therefore amounts to witch-hunt, abuse of power and miscarriage of justice.”
Saraki said he is ready to meet the anti-graft agency in court, expressing belief in the “rule of law, the sanctity of the judiciary and ability of the nation’s courts to serve the cause of justice in all matters and to all persons”.
Wilson Uwujaren, spokesman of the EFCC, was not reachable on the phone when TheCable attempted to get the comment of the commission on the development.