Court Vacates Forfeiture Order On Ekweremadu’s Properties
A federal high court in Abuja has overruled an interim order of forfeiture that was issued on properties belonging to Ike Ekweremadu, a former deputy senate president.
The ruling, made by Justice Inyang Ekwo, stated that the application for forfeiture filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was not brought in good faith and should be dismissed.
The judge also stated that the EFCC failed to disclose important information about the matter.
The ruling stated that the EFCC knew about Ekweremadu and his wife’s situation in the United Kingdom (UK) and even wrote a letter to the Crown Prosecution Service in the UK to provide them with information about the lawmaker.
Despite this, the EFCC still brought an application seeking an order for them to show cause for the assets to be forfeited.
Justice Ekwo had initially issued the interim forfeiture order in favour of the Federal Government last November 4th, following an ex-parte application brought before him by the EFCC.
He ordered the anti-graft agency to publish the order in a national daily within seven days from the date it was given.
The interim forfeiture order included properties in Enugu, the United States, the United Kingdom, Lagos, Dubai, and the federal capital territory.
Persons interested in the properties were advised to approach the court within 14 days of the publication and show why they should not be permanently forfeited to the federal government.
In response, the Anambra state government and Uni-Medical Healthcare Limited appeared before the court on December 5th as parties interested in some of the seized properties.
Additionally, Ekweremadu’s son, Lloyd, filed a motion through his lawyer, Adegboyega Awomolo, praying to the court for an order setting aside the interim forfeiture order.
In the motion, Lloyd alleged that the EFCC deliberately and fraudulently omitted critical facts and evidence in its application and that the agency was fully aware that his father was in detention in London when the application for forfeiture of the properties was filed.
He also alleged that the EFCC wrote a letter to the London court that led to his father’s inability to be granted bail. Lloyd therefore, prayed the court to set aside the forfeiture order and stay proceedings on the matter until his father’s situation in the UK is resolved.
In response, the EFCC, through its counsel, Silvanus Tahir, denied any responsibility for Ekweremadu’s detention in the UK and stated that sharing information with other countries is a standard procedure for anti-corruption organizations worldwide.
However, the judge agreed with Lloyd’s submissions and overturned the interim forfeiture order.
Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.