The former Senate President, Senator David Mark, has explained why he dragged the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property before the Federal High Court, Abuja.
The federal government had accused Senator Mark of illegally acquiring his official residence during his tenure as the President of the Nigerian Senate as his private property.
The Senator is being accused of illegally acquiring the property with the approval of former President Goodluck Jonathan despite the fact that that such property was excluded from the monetisation policy of the federal government.
Consequently, late last year, the federal government, through the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property, gave Mark a 21-day ultimatum to vacate the edifice.
In the notice to quit, endorsed by Chief Okoi Obono Obla, Chairman of the Presidential panel, the former Senate President was directed to “show cause” why the federal government should not “enforce the recovery of the property for public good.
However, reacting through his media aide ,Paul Mumeh, the senator contended that the agents of the federal government unilaterally and without affording him any right to fair hearing at all, and without any order of any court, declared his acquisition of the said property illegal.
Mumeh recalled that “the property was duly offered for, and purchased like any other person would in line with the federal government’s Monetization Policy that was started during the time of President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Mumeh insisted that Mark legally acquired his official residence as his private house having followed due process.
However, court processes of the suit listed for mention before Justice Gabriel Kolawole yesterday, indicated that the Senator was occupying the said property in 2010 when the Federal Capital Territory Administration decided to construct new official residences for the leadership of the National Assembly, “citing security concerns”.
It was stated the FCTA had insisted that the reserve price of N673,200,000.00 reflected the open market value of the property.
Mark had averred that the valuers of the FCT that inspected and carried out a valuation of the property had put the “replacement cost” of the property at N492,700,000.