Federal high court in Abuja has struck out charges of non-declaration of assets filed against Ike Ekweremadu, former deputy senate president and present senator representing Enugu West by the federal government.
The dissolved panel then led by Mr. Okoi Obono-Obla had in 2018 instituted the case marked FHC/ABJ/CR/62/2018 against Ekweremadu, alleging that, “without reasonable excuse”, the serving senator refused and neglected to declare his assets upon being served the panel’s “notice to declare”.
The panel alleged Ekweremadu refused to declare his assets according to the procedures prescribed for public officers. It sought a temporary forfeiture of the alleged undeclared assets linked to the senator.
Justice Binta Nyako struck out the case against Ekweremadu after the prosecuting counsel from the AGF office, Mr Pius Akutah, said the former lawyer handling the case for the panel had disappeared with the case file.
Twenty-two properties were reportedly traced to the former deputy senate president — nine in Nigeria, two in the UK, eight in Dubai and three in the US.
But Ekweremadu had described the suit as “laughable and malicious”, saying he is not obligated by law to declare his assets to the panel.
In 2019, the office of the attorney-general of the federation took over the case and other cases being handled by the SPIP after the panel was dissolved.
In her ruling on Monday, Binta Nyako, the judge, struck out the case against Ekweremadu after Pius Akutah, the prosecuting counsel from the office of the attorney-general of the federation, said the former lawyer handling the case for the panel “had disappeared with the case file”.
Akutah asked the judge to order the former counsel to release the file to the AGF’s office. But his request was declined.
Adegboyega Awomolo, Ekweremadu’s counsel, asked the judge to strike out the case — a request that was granted.