A federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Thursday quashed its order, which temporarily forfeited to the Federal Government two houses in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, belonging to former Senate President Bukola Saraki.
Justice Rilwan Aikawa, who released the houses to Saraki, said he was not satisfied with the claims of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on the origin of the properties.
The judge said he found insufficient basis in the EFCC application and could not “find my way through” to grant the permanent forfeiture order.
Aikawa, last December, granted an order for the interim forfeiture of the houses – Plots 10 and 11 Abdulkadir Road, GRA, Ilorin, Kwara State – following the EFCC’s ex parte application.
The anti-graft agency had claimed that Saraki acquired the properties with proceeds of “monumental fraud perpetrated in the treasury of the Kwara State government between 2003 and 2011” when he was governor.
The EFCC had prayed the court to convert the temporary forfeiture order to a permanent one.
But the former lawmaker resisted the application and contented, among others, that the EFCC’s lawsuit was malicious.
Saraki’s counsel, Kehinde Ogunwumiju (SAN), also described the EFCC suit as an abuse of court process and an attempt 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”.