Ekweremadu takes legal move to stop temporary forfeiture of 22 houses to FG
DEPUTY Senate President, Ike Ekweremmadu, on Tuesday, moved to stop the hearing of a motion exparte filed by the Federal Government, on March 21, 2018, seeking an interim order for the temporary forfeiture of some of his ‘undeclared’ properties, worth billions of Naira to the Federal Government.
The Federal Government had told the court that, without the forfeiture order on the said properties, there is the likelihood that, Ekweremadu, representing Enugu West Senatorial District under the platform of the People Democratic Party (PDP) of the frustrating investigations and that the dissipation of the said properties is very high.
The Federal Government said the matter is of utmost public interests and concern, and as such, “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 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 and added that the respondent may face possible arraignment after investigations.
Festus Keyamo (SAN), filed the exparte application on behalf of the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property.
However, when the matter came up, Bala Dakum announced appearance for the applicant (FG), while Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), entered an appearance for the respondent (Ekweremadu).
Dakum informed the court that being an exparte application, ordinarily the respondent was not supposed to be in court not to talk of being heard.
He said what happened was that, while waiting for the court to fix a date for hearing of the motion, the respondent filed an application, seeking to be heard.
The FG’s lawyer informed the court that he had filed a counter affidavit in opposition to Ekweremmadu’s application.
On his part, Awomolo told the court that he equally filed two applications on March 26, 2018, with that first one, praying the court for leave to be heard in the motion exparte.
Ekweremadu said he has filed a counter affidavit to depositions contained in the FG’s exparte application.
The 2nd application wants the court to decline jurisdiction and exercise of judicial power, and consequently strike out or dismiss the motion exparte.
Specifically, Awomolo based his application on the ground that the Special panel is unknown to law, adding that, “The body that brought that motion exparte does not exist in law. We are challenging the constitutionality of its existence.”
After hearing submissions of counsel in the matter, the trial judge, Justice Binta Nyako, severed the two applications filed by Ekweremadu and held that the first one should be heard and adjourned the matter till April 26, 2018.
However, in opposition to Ekweremmadu’s application seeking to be heard, the FG stated that all it seeks to do at this stage is to obtain an order of court stopping the Ekweremmadu from dissipating the assets in question whilst investigations are ongoing.
The FG is claiming that it is not seeking to permanently deprive Ekweremadu of the use of his properties and 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 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,” he submitted.