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Probe: Court fixes Nov. 22 for hearing of ex Senate President, Saraki’s suit against EFCC

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, yesterday, fixed November 22 for hearing of two separate suits filed by former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to restrain the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and others from probing him and seizing his properties.

The trial judge, Justice Anwuli Chikere, fixed the date after Saraki’s counsel, Kehinde Ogunwumiju (SAN), sought to withdraw a motion filed on June 30, seeking a stay of proceedings. In his submission, Ogunwumiju noted the court that the matter was slated for hearing.

 

He, however, said that he had two applications before the court.

 

According to him: “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 added that 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, also adjourned the two suits till November 22 on the grounds that she was bereaved.

 

The court, however, directed hearing notices to be issued and served on all parties. The EFCC had, in 2019, said it would probe 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. Saraki, 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.

 

Respondents in the two suits are the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Inspector- General of Police (IGP), State Security Service (SSS), Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) as 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th respondents respectively.

 

Justice Taiwo Taiwo, who was then the trial judge, while ruling on an ex parte application filed along with the substantive suits and ordered the anti-corruption agency (4th 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 court then directed the parties to maintain the status quo by suspending the probe. Not satisfied, the EFCC applied that the judge should recuse himself and the matter be transferred to another court.

 

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

 

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