Court to hear Ekweremadu’s suit against asset forfeiture
The Federal High Court, Abuja on Tuesday fixed April 26 to hear a suit filed by Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu seeking to be heard in a suit seeking temporary forfeiture of 22 of his houses to the Federal
The Federal Government had on March 21 filed an ex parte motion, seeking an interim order for the temporary forfeiture of some of Ekweremadu’s assets it claimed were undeclared.
Mr Festus Keyamo, (SAN), filed the ex parte application on behalf of the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property.
When the matter came up on Tuesday, Mr Adegboyega Awomolo, (SAN), counsel to Ekweremadu told the court that he filed two applications on March 26.
He said the first application was praying the court for leave to be heard in the motion ex parte adding that he had filed a counter affidavit to depositions countained in the application.
He said the second application was praying the court to decline jurisdiction and exercise of judicial power, and consequently strike out or dismiss the motion.
This, Awomolo said was on the grounds that the panel was unknown to law.
“The body that brought that motion ex parte does not exist in law. We are challenging the constitutionality of its existence” Awomolo said.
In opposition to Ekweremadu’s application seeking to be heard, the Federal Government stated that all it was currently seeking was to obtain an order of court stopping Ekweremadu from dissipating the assets in question whilst investigation was ongoing.
Mr Bala Dakum, counsel to the government claimed that it was not seeking to permanently deprive Ekweremadu of the use of his properties.
He alleged that the application of Ekweremadu was a delay tactic to frustrate the suit adding that there were reports that Ekweremadu was already selling off the assets in question.
According to him, without an order attaching/forfeiting the said properties, the likelihood of the frustration of investigations as well as the dissipation of the said properties was very high.
He further told the court that the matter was of utmost public interest and concern and that an order of court would enable the government to carry out a thorough investigation into the matter.
The trial judge, Justice Binta Nyako, adjourned the matter until April 26 for hearing.