A Federal High Court in Lagos has fixed November 10, 2015 to rule on an application by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency seeking to reverse an order preventing the agency from seizing Mr. Buruji Kashamu’s properties.
The ruling was adjourned on Tuesday as the presiding judge in the case, Justice Ibrahim Buba, did not sit.
Kashamu, whose election into the Senate was recently nullified at the tribunal, had on June 29, 2015 obtained the restraining order from Justice Buba.
The judge temporarily barred the NDLEA and the Attorney General of the Federation from making any attempt to confiscate Kashamu’s properties, including a 24-flat housing estate at Egbe and several hectares of land on Lekki Peninsular, Lagos, worth over N20bn.
Justice Buba said the order would last until the determination of Kashamu’s suit.
The embattled senator, through his lawyer, Mr. Ajibola Oluyede, had rushed to the court on the claim that the NDLEA and the AGF were making moves to take over his properties.
He instituted the suit after the failed effort by the NDLEA to extradite him to the United States of America, where he is said to be wanted for alleged drug-trafficking offences.
The move by the NDLEA to extradite Kashamu had hit a brick wall on account of a May 27, 2015 judgment of Justice Okon Abang, which was subsequently reaffirmed by Justice Buba on June 23, 2015.
Oluyede, in the new suit, argued that the NDLEA and the AGF would be violating Kashamu’s fundamental right to own property under sections 43 and 44 of the 1999 Constitution, if they went ahead to seize his properties.
Kashamu, in his affidavit, claimed to have acquired the properties by dint of hard work and legitimate business as opposed to the respondents’ allegation that the properties were acquired with proceeds of drug-trafficking.
But the NDLEA is contending that the restraining order by Justice Buba was against public policy and asked the judge to reverse it.
Counsel for the agency, Mr. J. N. Sunday, said Buba’s order amounted to tying the hands of the Federal Government’s agencies from discharging their legitimate mandates.
The agency also asked Buba to disqualify himself from the case, saying it was afraid that since Buba had adjudicated over Kashamu’s previous case and gave judgment, it might be impossible for him to reach a different conclusion in the fresh case, which stemmed from the earlier case.
On his own part, the counsel from the office of the AGF, Mr. Oyin Koleosho, argued that since Kashamu’s case bordered on landed property title, the Federal High Court had no jurisdiction to entertain it.