Immediate past Senate President, David Mark, has come out to state that allegations by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that his purchase of the official residence of Office of Senate President at Apo Legislative Quarters is illegal is “spurious, contrived and baseless.”
Senator Mark described them as chasing shadows in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Paul Mumeh. As the property was duly up for sale, bided for and purchased by him in line with the Federal Government’s monetisation policy, which was put in place by the administration of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Ken Ikonne, the Senator’s lawyer, in suit NO FHC/ABJ/1037/2017 before the Federal High Court, Abuja, said that he followed all due process legally and bought the property from the FCDA on April 27, 2011.
The Senator’s statements “I had the right of first refusal. Even if I did not purchase it, someone else would have. I am a law-abiding citizen. I did not flout any law. Curiously, four houses occupied by the then presiding officers of the National Assembly were offered to the occupants.
“All of us I, as the then President of the Senate; the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu; the then Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole; and his deputy, Bayero Nafada were given the same offer. I am at a loss as to why it is now a subject of contention.
“If this persecution is about politics, my political party and the 2019 elections, I dare say that only God and Nigerians would decide. No amount of persecution would alter the will of God.
“I had refrained from commenting on this because it is already in court. But they have taken the matter to the court of public opinion.”
The Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property, chaired by Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, in September gave the former Senate President a 21-day notice to quit the mansion.
The Senator is stating that the declaration compelling him to vacate the aforesaid property without affording him a fair hearing, amounted to a denial of his fundamental human rights and is therefore unconstitutional and void.
Senator Mark has approached the Federal High Court in Abuja to file a suit ceasing all efforts by the panel to evict him and recover the property.