Ekweremadu Wants to Frustrate Trial over Alleged 22 Undeclared Houses

The Federal Government Tuesday alleged that the suit by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremmadu, challenging the hearing of a motion ex-parte seeking an interim order for the temporary forfeiture of 22 houses linked to the Deputy Senate President, was an attempt to frustrate his trial.
The 22 houses are said to be subject of an ongoing investigation by the Okoi Obono-Obla-led Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property (SPIPRPP).
The panel had said it was investigating Ekweremadu for breach of code of conduct for public officers by failing to declare the houses to the Code of Conduct Bureau as part of his assets.
Festus Keyamo (SAN) had on March 21, 2018 filed, on behalf of the Federal Government, an ex-parte motion seeking an interim forfeiture of the 22 houses located in Nigeria and three other foreign countries pending the conclusion of the investigation of the Deputy Senate President.
However, Ekweremadu, representing Enugu West Senatorial District under the platform of the People Democratic Party (PDP), filed an application against hearing of the ex-parte.
Arguing against Ekweremadu’s application as file his lawyer, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), the Federal Government, through Bala Dajuma, who stood in for Keyamo, Tuesday, told the court that without its order forfeiting the said properties, “the likelihood of the frustration of investigations as well as the dissipation of the said properties is very high”.
It was the contention of the Federal Government that the matter is of utmost public interests and concern, and asuch, “an order will enable the government to carry out a thorough investigation into the activities of the respondent in the acquisition of the said properties as it relates to the allegation of a breach of Code of Conduct for Public Officers”.
The Federal Government said the interim order would lapse as soon as investigation and further inquiry by the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property is concluded.
More so, the FG said the respondent may face possible arraignment after investigations.
The Federal Government further averred that the application of the respondent “is a delay tactics to frustrate the substance of this suit as there are reports that the respondent is already hurriedly selling off the assets in question”.
Consequently, “based on the submission and legal authorities canvassed, we urge my Lord to dismiss the application filed by the applicant as same has no merit.
“The stumbling of the respondent upon the ex-parte application pending in this court does not entitle the respondent to be heard.
“The argument of the respondent that granting temporary forfeiture of the respondent’s properties in this suit through ex parte application is an infringement on his right to fair hearing is grossly misconceived and we urge my noble Lord to so hold.”
On his part, Awomolo told the court that he equally filed two applications on March 26, 2018.
The first application filed by Awomolo is praying the court for leave to be heard in the motion ex-parte. Ekweremadu said he has filed a counter affidavit to depositions countained in the FG’s exparte application.
The second application wants the court to decline jurisdiction and exercise of judicial power, and consequently strike out or dismiss the motion ex-parte.
Specifically, Awomolo based his application on grounds that the Special panel is unknown to law.
“The body that brought that motion exparte does not exist in law. We are challenging the constitutionality of its existence” Awomolo stated.
After listening to the counsel, the presiding Judge, Justice Binta Nyako, severred the two applications filed by Ekweremadu, and held that the first one should be heard.
She adjourned the matter to April 26.

Author: News Editor

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