Why I took presidential panel to court, by David Mark
Former Senate President David Mark has explained why he took the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property to a Federal High Court, Abuja.
In the suit, he claimed that the panel planned to evict him from his residential property, which he duly acquired.
The former senate president said he instituted the legal action to save himself from being forcibly evicted from the property.
The Federal Government had accused Mark of illegally acquiring his then official residence as his private property.
The panel had given him 21 days within which to vacate the property.
In the quit notice endorsed by the Chairman of the Presidential panel, Okoi Obono Obla, the former Senate President was directed to ‘show cause’why the Federal Government should not enforce the recovery of the property for public good.
Mark is seeking an order restraining the panel from taking any steps or action aimed at evicting him from the mansion.
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, and Obono-Obla were joined as respondents in the suit.
In the suit filed on his behalf by Ken Ikonne, Mark is further seeking an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants, jointly and severally or through any agent from evicting him from the said property, or recovering same from him.
He is also praying the court for a declaration that the unilateral action by the defendants that the plaintiff’s acquisition of the property was illegal, amounted to a denial of his fundamental rights to fair hearing, and was therefore unconstitutional and void.
He added that the declaration did not give him fair hearing, adding that the service of the notice of declaration of assets (Form A) on the plaintiff was unconstitutional and void.
Reacting through his media aide, Paul Mumeh, Mark contended that the agents of the Federal Government unilaterally, and without affording him any right to fair hearing, and without any order of any court, declared his acquisition of the said property illegal.
Mumeh recalled: “The property was duly offered for, and purchased like any other person, in line with the Federal Government’s Monetisation Policy that was started during the tenure of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo.
“The former senate president had the right of first refusal. Even if he did not purchase it, someone else would have done so,” he said.