Independent reports that Ibrahim Shema, former Governor of Katsina State, has filed an application at the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, challenging interim forfeiture of 18 properties belonging to him worth N86.2 billion.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole had on November 1, 2017 granted an order for interim forfeiture of 18 properties in Abuja, said to belong to the former governor.
In a notice of preliminary objection filed through Akinlolu Kehinde SAN, his lawyer, the former governor argued that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) suppressed facts before obtaining the ex parte order.
Shema’s lawyer urged the court to set aside the interim forfeiture order because “the totality of the issue raised in the ex parte motion is the same subject matter of a criminal charge filed by the EFCC before a Katsina High Court.
Kehinde submitted that the issues raised by the EFCC “is now a subject of appeal before the Supreme Court.”
The appeal case at the Supreme Court, marked SC/814c/2017, is coming up on November 8.
In addition, Shema’s counsel said the preliminary objection before Justice Kolawole was challenging the propriety of the ex parte motion in view of the pendency of the appeal.
He noted that investigation into the alleged offences had been concluded, charges filed, plea taken and an appeal entered.
More so, the applicant is seeking the setting aside of the interim order on the grounds that the EFCC had refused to avail Shema the opportunity to have access to the facilities in order to prepare his defence.
In an affidavit in support of the motion ex parte, the EFCC averred that seized assets were valued at over N86.2 billion.
EFCC lawyer, O.I. Uket told Justice Kolawole that it was imperative that the order he granted in order to preserve the assets pending the disposition of the criminal charges filed against the defendant.
Justice Kolawale, in his ruling said, the prayers that the applicant sought were provided for in the EFCC act.
In furtherance of the statutory mandate of the agency, the prayers sought according to the court “are to preserve the assets.
“It is of utmost importance to also seek the protection of the suspect. The applicant is an agency of government; it is in this regard that while it is important to aid the EFCC in its duty, the court is also mindful that the suspect is protected.
“It is my view to also grant the motion. This order shall operate pending when a criminal charge is formerly filed.
“The defendant can come before the court to challenge the order within seven days and ask the court to set the order aside.
“Consequently, the court said the order shall remain extant until the case is disposed of. Unless a formal application is brought to lift the order, it shall remain an interim order,” Justice Kolawole