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Published On: Tue, Feb 25th, 2020

False asset declaration: Court strikes out criminal charges against Ekweremadu

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By Vivian Okejeme, Abuja

Justice Binta Nyako the Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday, struck out the criminal charges filed by the defunct Special Presidential Investigation Panel on Recovery of Public Property against the former deputy Senate President, Ike Ekwremmadu.
The charges which was brought against the former Senate president by the panel, for alleged false assets declaration on May 11, 2018, was struck out for lack of diligent prosecution.
The federal government disbanded the Special Presidential Investigation Panel on the Recovery of Public Property late last year and handed all cases being handled by it to the office of Attorney General of the Federation.
When the matter came up yesterday for continuation of trial, a counsel from the office of Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) Mr. Pius Akuta announced appearance, however, Justice Binta Nyako ruled that the prosecution is at liberty to refile the charge when they are ready.
Justice Nyako said that if the AGF had difficulties taking over the prosecution of the criminal case against the former deputy Senate President, the AGF knows what to do.
She said that the court would not make an order against the defunct panel on or an individual over the case file which the prosecution counsel said they have difficulty retrieving.
Akuta had earlier in his submission opposed the motion by the defendant counsel Adegbeya Awomolo (SAN) that the charge be struck out .
He also opposed an indefinite adjournment but prefers a short adjournment although he was not in possession of the case file.
Earlier when the matter was called , Chief 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 request. She said until she is seize of the criminal matter and the defendant Ekweremadu is in the duck and counsel announced appearance, the court would not take step on the matter.
Recall that the Presidential Special Committee on Recovery of Public Property had in May 2018 charged Senator Ekweremadu for false declaration of assets.
Meanwhile, the two other consolidated suits dealing with the forfeiture of Senator Ekweremadu’s 22 properties has being adjourned to April 28, 2020.
Justice Nyako refused the defendant counsel application seeking to strike out suit. She said that the consolidated suits was for mentioned.

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