Saraki, Supreme Court Justice, Others May Forfeit Assets

Senate President Bukola Saraki and Justice Sylvester Ngwuta of the Supreme Court, among others currently being prosecuted before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, may have their properties, which are subject of the charges preferred against them, temporarily forfeited pending the final determination of their cases.

This is according to the CCT’s new Practice Direction, 2017, just released.

The 26-paragraph Practice Direction, with commencement date of February 16, 2017, is signed by the CCT’s Chairman, Danladi Umar, and the other member of the tribunal, William Atedze.

Paragraph 12 of the document, which deals with ‘Seizures’, gives the prosecution the discretion to apply (through ex-parte motion) for temporary forfeiture of assets which are subject of the trial pending the final determination of the case.

It allows the prosecution to make the application for property seizure at the commencement of the trial or “at a reasonable time thereafter”.

According to legal experts, since the new practice direction is a procedural framework, it will take immediate effect on ongoing cases.

Paragraph 12 reads, “The prosecution may, at the commencement of the trial or at a reasonable time thereafter, apply to the tribunal for an interim order of seizure, forfeiture and confiscation of the property, the subject of the charge pending the final determination of same by the tribunal.

“An application for temporary seizure may be heard in chambers or in open court by the tribunal.

“Application for temporary seizure shall be made motion ex parte supported by an affidavit and schedule of the property to be so attached.”

Saraki is being prosecuted by the Federal Government before the CCT on 18 counts including mostly false assets declaration.

Saraki is also accused of obtaining a N375m loan from Guaranty Trust Bank Plc on February 11, 2010, which he allegedly used to buy property in London and failed to declare same.