Court strikes out suit against Ekweremadu on assets declaration
The Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday struck out the criminal charge filed by the defunct Special Presidential Investigation Panel on Recovery of Public Property against the former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.
The charge was struck out for lack of diligent prosecution.The defunct panel had last year taken Ekweremadu to court for alleged false assets declaration. However, the Federal Government disbanded the Special Presidential Panel late last year and consequently handed all cases within its power to the office of the attorney-general of the federation.
Though a counsel from the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Pius Akuta, announced appearance for the prosecution, Justice Binta Nyako ruled that the prosecution was at liberty to re-file the charge when it is ready to do so.
Justice Nyako stated that if the attorney-general of federation had difficulties taking over the prosecution of the criminal case against the former Deputy Senate President, the AGF knows what to do.
Consequently, the judge held that the court would not make an order against the defunct panel or an individual over the case file, which the prosecution said that it had difficulty in retrieving.Akuta had earlier in his submission opposed the motion by the defence counsel, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), that the charge be struck out.
He also opposed an indefinite adjournment but preferred a short adjournment even though he was not in possession of the case file.Earlier when the matter was called, Awomolo (SAN) insisted that his objection to the competent of the charge and jurisdiction of the court should be determined first.
But Justice Nyako declined the defendant counsel’s request, stressing that until the defendant is docked and counsel announced appearance, the court will not take any step on the matter.The judge consequently struck out the matter for want of diligent prosecution.
Meanwhile, two other consolidated suits dealing with the forfeiture of Ekweremadu’s 22 property had been adjourned till April 28, 2020.Justice Nyako had declined the defendant’s application seeking to strike out the suit on the ground that the consolidated suit was for mention.