The prosecution of the former Senate President, Bukola Saraki over alleged diversion of N10 billion said to belong to Kwara State government came up on Thursday before the Federal High Court in Lagos State.
Justice Rilwan Aikawa, the presiding judge in the matter was asked by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to grant that two Ilorin houses belonging to Saraki be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.
It said the two houses were built with funds the former Senate President and ex-governor of Kwara allegedly stole from the state’s purse.
According to the commission, while serving as the state governor between 2003 and 2011, Saraki allegedly diverted no less than N10 billion belonging to the state.
The anti-graft agency went further to claim that Saraki used the sum of N1.09 billion from the alleged stolen N10 billion to build the two houses in question.
The court, had earlier on December 2, 2019, granted the EFCC’s request and ordered that the houses located at Plots No. 10 and 11, Abdulkadir Road, GRA, Ilorin, Kwara State be temporarily forfeited to the Federal Government.
The EFCC demanded at the resumption of the matter that the houses be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.
But, Saraki’s counsel Mr Kehinde Ogunwunmiju (SAN), opposed the commission’s prayer.
Bilikisu Buhari, an EFCC officer in an affidavit filed before the court, had said that investigation by the EFCC showed that Saraki stole the money by allegedly diverting N100 million on a monthly basis from the federal allocation to the state.
“After the funds were stacked in the Kwara State Government House, it was then fraudulently dissipated and taken away in cash by Messrs Abdul Adama, Ubi Ofem and Ubi Austin, acting on the instructions and direction of Dr Bukola Saraki in violent breach of public trust.
“That in this scheme of fraud alone, about N10bn was fraudulently diverted from the treasury of the Kwara State Government,” Bilikisu Buhari said.
According to her, the following persons Adama, Ofem and Austin using fictitious name, paid the diverted N100 million into the bank accounts of contractors who built the houses.
However, Saraki’s counsel disagreed, insisting that the houses were built with legitimate funds, explaining that N252.2 million out of the N1.09 billion expended to build the houses represented what Saraki was paid for the development of a five-bedroom apartment, which he was entitled to as a two-term governor of Kwara State.
Among other things, Justice Aikawa, after listening to their argument for over five hours, adjourned the matter for judgment till April 27.
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