Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, yesterday, moved to stop hearing on a motion ex parte filed by the Federal Government to temporarily seize some of his landed property.
The Federal Government on March 21, approached the Federal High Court, Abuja, for an interim order for temporary forfeiture of some of Senator Ekweremadu’s undeclared property said to be worth billions of naira.
Ekweremadu, who represents Enugu West under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had told the court that without its order of forfeiture, the likelihood of frustrating investigations as well as the dissipation of the said property would be very high.
The FG said the interim order would lapse as soon as investigation and further inquiries by the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property is concluded.It added that the respondent may face possible arraignment after investigations. Festus Keyamo (SAN), filed the ex parte application.
When the matter came up yesterday, Bala Dakum announced appearance for the applicant (FG) while Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), appeared for the respondent -Ekweremadu.
Dakum informed the court that ordinarily, the respondent was not supposed to be in court since it was an ex parte application.He noted 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 Ekweremadu’s application.
On his part, Awomolo told the court that he equally filed two applications on March 26. While one prayed the court for leave to be heard in the motion ex parte, the second prayed the court to decline jurisdiction and exercise of judicial power, and consequently strike out or dismiss the motion ex parte.She then adjourned the matter till April 26.
But on opposition to Ekweremadu’s application seeking to be heard, the Federal Government said it would consequently obtain an order of court stopping Ekweremadu from dissipating the assets in question whilst investigations are ongoing.It noted that the application of the respondent was a delay tactic.aimed at frustrating the substance of the suit, as there were reports that the respondent was 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 stumbling of the respondent upon the ex parte application pending in this court does not entitle the respondent to be heard. The argument of the respondent that granting temporary forfeiture of the respondent’s property 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”, the FG stated.