Former Senate President, David Mark, has described accusations by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that he purchased his Apo residence illegally as spurious, contrived and baseless.
Mark said, yesterday, that the EFCC, or any other agent of government were chasing shadows because the property was duly offered for sale, bided for, and he purchased it like any other person, in line with Federal Government’s Monetisation Policy which was started during the time of President Olusegun Obasanjo.
He said: “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 National Assembly were offered to the occupants.
All of us, me as the then President of the Senate, Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, the then Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole and his Deputy Bayero Nafada were all 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 election, 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 the law Court. But they have taken the matter to the Court of public opinion.”
Mark, through his lawyer, Ken Ikonne, in the suit NO FHC/ABJ/1037/2017 before the Federal High Court, Abuja, had said he followed due process and legally acquired the property from the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA)on April 27, 2011.
Mark is also asking the court for a declaration that an order by the Attorney General of the Federation and one Obono Obla of the Presidential Task Force on Recovery of Government Properties, compelling him to vacate the aforesaid property without affording him a fair hearing, amounted to a denial of his fundamental human rights, unconstitutional and void.
He recalled the Federal Executive Council decided to authorise the sale of the properties housing the principal officers of the National Assembly because the general security of the area had been altered/compromised due to the sale of the other houses in the legislative quarters to the public.
Consequent upon which the houses were offered for sale and duly purchased. Mark was given the first option of refusal upon which he duly accepted on April 21, 2011, and paid the agreed purchase price to the adhoc committee on sale of Federal Government houses on April 27, 2011.