Court reverses forfeiture order on Saraki’s properties in Lagos

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A Federal High Court sitting in the state, has set aside its order of interim forfeiture on the properties of Senator Olubukola Saraki.

The judgement came  17 months after the court granted the request of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to confiscate the former Kwara State’s properties located on 17 and 17A MacDonald Road, Ikoyi, Lagos State.

The anti-graft commission also asked the court for final forfeiture of the confiscated properties.

But yesterday, after the EFCC’s counsel, Nnaemeka Omewa and counsel for Saraki, Kehinde Ogunwumiju, SAN, had adopted their respective written addresses for and against the final forfeiture order sought by the EFCC.Justice Abdullah Liman,  ruled against the final forfeiture of the confiscated properties.

Justice Abdullah Liman, however, held that the essence of an interim order of forfeiture was to preserve the property from being dissipated by the suspect and the burden was on the EFCC to satisfy the court that the properties were proceeds of unlawful or illegal activity under the corruption laws.

Liman said the applicant had in its affidavit in support of its motion for final forfeiture stated that the properties sought to be forfeited were purchased with a personal loan that Saraki obtained from Guaranty Trust Bank.

“The evidence of the transactions presented by the applicant was in respect of transactions made after he had purchased the property and the proceeds used for the purchase were legal; that is loan.

“The applicant failed to prove its entitlement to the relief of final forfeiture of the respondent’s properties,” he said.

 Liman, therefore, dismissed the application and vacated the interim forfeiture order it made on October 21, 2019.

Reacting to the court’s decision in a tweet on Thursday, Saraki said: “I thank the Almighty Allah who has given me the opportunity to serve my state and country; and who has given me the strength to continually fight to assert my innocence. By his grace, I have always served with diligence, honour and integrity and I will continue to do so.

“It is my fervent hope that this judgment will put an end to the campaign of calumny waged against my person and allow me to focus on my life as a law abiding Nigerian citizen.”

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