By Abu ‘Adnan
LAGOS, Nigeria (AA) - A Nigerian court has ordered temporary forfeiture of two houses belonging to the country’s former senate President Bukola Saraki.
The forfeiture order, granted on Monday by Lagos High Court judge Rilwan Aikawa, followed an application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that insisted the houses had been built with “proceeds of crime”.
The houses are located in Ilorin, the home town of the politician and capital city of the north-central Kwara State.
Aikawa directed the anti-graft body to publish the notice of the forfeiture in the country’s news media to allow the interested party to come to the court to explain why the properties should not be permanently forfeited to the Nigerian government.
In an affidavit filed at the court, the EFCC had said that it uncovered “monumental frauds” in the management of public funds when Saraki was governor of the north-central Kwara State for eight years.
“Whilst the investigation was ongoing, several fraudulent transactions were discovered,” said an affidavit signed by Olamide Sadiq, an anti-graft official.
The forfeiture order came less than a week after Saraki said the EFCC was bent on seizing his properties as part of what he called “a conspiracy” to embarrass him.
Saraki, a chieftain of the opposition People’s Democratic Party, had long been under government probe for alleged corruption. Similar case of false assets declaration against him was dismissed by the Supreme Court in 2018.