Legal Nigeria

Saraki’s suit challenging EFCC’s probe of his assets moved to November 22

The EFCC is probing Mr Saraki’s earnings between 2003 and 2011 when he was governor of Kwara.


Bukola Saraki,
Bukola Saraki, former President of the Nigerian Senate

A new date has been fixed to hear the two suits filed by former Senate President Bukola Saraki to restrain the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from probing him and seizing his assets.

Justice Anwuli Chikere of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday fixed November 22 after Mr Saraki’s counsel, Kehinde Ogunwumiju, sought to withdraw a motion filed on June 30 seeking for a stay of proceedings.

Earlier, Mr Ogunwumiju had told the court that the matter was slated for hearing. He, however, said that he had two applications before the court.

“We have filed a motion for stay of proceedings. It was filed on June 30, 2021. We seek to withdraw the motion, my lord,” he said.

The lawyer said the second application filed on May 15, 2019, was for the court to rely on all further affidavits filed.

Justice Chikere, who ordered the withdrawal of the first motion after counsel representing respondents did not oppose, adjourned the two suits until November 22.

She directed hearing notices to be issued and served on all parties.

The EFCC had in 2019, said it would probe Mr Saraki’s earnings between 2003 and 2011 when he was governor of Kwara State.

The commission was reported to have seized some of his houses in the Ikoyi area of Lagos then.

However, Mr Saraki had on May 10, 2019, filed two separate suits marked FHC/ABJ/CS/507/19 and FHC/ABJ/CS/508/19 respectively before Justice Taiwo Taiwo to challenge the action of the EFCC.

Other respondents in the two suits are the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Inspector-General of Police (IGP), State Security Service (SSS).

Others are the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) as first, second, third, fifth and sixth respondents respectively.

Justice Taiwo, who was the presiding judge, ruled on an ex parte application filed along with the substantive suits and ordered the anti-corruption agency (fourth respondent) and the other five respondents to the suits to stay action on the probe pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed by the applicant.

The order was granted after Sunday Onubi, Mr Saraki’s lawyer, moved the application on May 14, 2019.

The court had directed the parties to maintain the status quo by suspending the probe.

But the EFCC later applied that the judge should recuse himself and the matter be transferred to another court.

Justice Taiwo sent back the case file to the chief judge and the matter was reassigned to Justice Chikere for adjudication.

The EFCC had in the last adjourned date, alleged before Ms Chikere that the action of the former senate president was hindering the agency from probing him.

While Chioma Okongwu appeared for EFCC (fourth defendant) in today’s proceeding, Ephraim Otti represented the ICPC (fifth) while Ekenma Okafor advocated for CCB (sixth defendant).