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Court Vacates Forfeiture Order, Hands Ekweremadu Back His 40 Properties

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A Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday, January 20, 2023, vacated an interim forfeiture of 40 landed properties granted against the former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu.

Justice Inyang Ekwo vacated the order following a discovery that the forfeiture order was fraudulently obtained by the Federal Government against the properties.

The judge, while lifting the order, held that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, which obtained the order on behalf of the Federal Government, concealed information that led to granting it.

Specifically, Justice Ekwo said that EFCC, which was fully aware that Ekweremadu was in custody in the United Kingdom, failed to make the vital information available to the court.

With his detention in London, the Judge agreed with Chief Adegboyega Awomolo SAN, counsel to Ekweremadu, that there was no way the former Deputy Senate President would be opportune to defend his ownership of the disputed properties.

Justice Ekwo had, on November 4 last year, issued the interim forfeiture order in favour of the Federal Government following an ex-parte application brought before him by EFCC.

The Judge specifically directed that anybody who had an interest in the forfeited properties should indicate within 14 days of the publication of the interim forfeiture order from the court.

The former Deputy Senate President and his wife are currently standing trial in the United Kingdom over alleged organ harvesting.

FG Moves To Claim Ike Ekweremadu’s Properties, Secures Interim Forfeiture Order

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Friday, November 4, 2022, ordered an interim forfeiture of 40 landed properties belonging to the embattled former Deputy Senate President, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu, who is currently in custody in the United Kingdom.

The trial Judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo made the order following an ex-parte motion marked, FHC/ABJ/CS/1242/2022 filed and moved by Ibrahim Buba on behalf of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

In a short ruling on the exparte motion, the Judge ordered the anti-graft agency to publish the interim forfeiture order of the properties in a national daily within seven days from the date the order was given.

Justice Ekwo specifically asked anybody interested in the properties covered by the interim forfeiture order to indicate within 14 days of the publication of the interim forfeiture order of the court.

Justice Ekwo adjourned till December 5, 2022, for a report, if there is any objection from any member of the public regarding the properties.

The interim forfeiture order covers 10 Ekweremadu’s properties in Enugu, three in the United States of America (USA), two in the United Kingdom (UK), one in Lagos, nine in Dubai, and 15 located in the Federal Capital Territory.

By the ruling, members of the public interested in the properties, covered by the interim forfeiture order should, within 14 days of the newspaper publication, inform the court why the properties should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.

The former Deputy Senate President and his wife are currently standing trial in the United Kingdom over alleged organ harvest.

‘Hasty And Selective’: Ohanaeze Questions Buhari Regime’s Forfeiture Of Ekweremadu’s Assets

The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, on Saturday, November 5, 2022, described as “hasty” and a “selective judgement”, an interim forfeiture of 40 landed assets belonging to a former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.

Ohanaeze said Ekweremadu, who is being prosecuted for alleged organ harvesting in the United Kingdom, should be given the opportunity to defend himself.

Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court Abuja had ordered the interim forfeiture of Ekweremadu’s assets following an ex-parte motion by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

However, Ohanaeze said though there are several allegations of corruption cases pending in the EFCC, the urgency and selective judgement in the case of Ekweremadu is curious.

Read Ohanaeze’s full statement:

ASSET FORFEITURE: EFCC, COURT ORDER HASTY – OHANAEZE

The Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide condemns the hasty order by Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court to the effect that Sen. Prof. Ike Ekweremadu should forfeit 40 landed properties allegedly belonging to him.

Ohanaeze Ndigbo stands on a moral probity to state that a hasty exparte motion filed by the EFCC on a man who is undergoing some travails in the United Kingdom falls short of ethical standards and natural justice.

We maintain that Sen. Ike Ekweremadu should be given the opportunity to defend himself on his properties, and if found wanting should surely face the consequences.

We are aware that there are several allegations of corruption cases pending in the EFCC, but the urgency and selective judgement in the case of Ekweremadu is not only curious but indeed true to type.

Ohanaeze Ndigbo calls on all the Nigerian legal luminaries of goodwill to intervene against gradual steps towards totalitarianism.

Dr. Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia, National Publicity Secretary, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide.

Source: Daily Post

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