The immediate past Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has filed a fresh process in the Federal High Court, Lagos, seeking an interim order for the forfeiture of his home in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.
In a statement by his media aide, Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki described the move as a violation of an existing order of a court of similar jurisdiction, disrespect of the judicial institution and therefore, amounts to forum shopping.
“just like the previous one, which the anti-graft agency made by filing a similar order in the same court on Saraki’s Ikoyi House, it is a clear abuse of the court process.”
He said the action of the EFCC portrays the agency as only engaging in act of vendetta as opposed to fighting corruption.
Saraki said he was surprised that the 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”
The court, according to him, had “restrained the respondents (Commission) by itself, 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”.
The statement read further,
“Again, instead of the EFCC consolidating its cases by joining the new application with the old one it earlier filed through which the commission got an interim order of forfeiture which is already being challenged by Dr. Saraki in the Federal High Court, Lagos, it decided to proliferate litigation by filing a fresh matter, all in an attempt to embarrass the former Senate President and ignore an existing order.
“The Commission was engaging in this rigmarole in order to ensure it has different cases before different judges against the same person.
“The decision of the EFCC to file a forfeiture order before a Federal High Court in Lagos on a property based in Ilorin also amounts to forum shopping, an act which an institution which seeks to be respected in the international community should not engage in.
“The new move only shows the level of desperation of the EFCC to nail Dr. Saraki at all cost and by all means possible.
“However, 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.
“While we insist that Dr. Saraki is ready to meet the anti-graft agency in court, we reiterate the firm belief of the former Senate President 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.
“We hereby appeal to all the friends, associates and supporters of Dr. Saraki not to be disturbed by this ugly development.
“We assure them that the former Senate President will contest this illegal move of the EFCC in court and he is sure the court will do justice in this matter”