The continuing arrest of Senator Ike Ekweremadu, who once served as Deputy Senate President, has been called “pathetic” by Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court.
Justice Ekwo of the Abuja division of the court stated that no citizen of Nigeria deserves to go through such a horrible experience, regardless of whether it takes place in Nigeria or elsewhere.
He also described the affidavit that was presented before it by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as being contradictory in nature. This was in reference to the claims made by the agency that all 40 assets listed in the application for interim assets forfeiture belonged to the former number two man in the Senate, his company, Foundation, and his wife.
In his ruling on the case, Justice Ekwo said the following: “It is not hard to reason that the essence of the application for interim forfeiture by the Respondent (EFCC) is to give credence to the letter of 18th July 2022 to the Crown Prosecution Service and to give them the further reason for continued custody of Senator Ike Ekweremadu in the United Kingdom. This is not a difficult conclusion to reach.”
“The events surrounding this case paint a picture that breaks my heart, and they compel me to state the following: no Nigerian, whether they are living in Nigeria or outside, should be forced to endure the type of anguish depicted in this instance.
“Another piece of evidence pointing to bad faith is the fact that the Respondent (EFCC) represented in this case that it is a matter of interim forfeiture order against the assets in various locations belonging to Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Power Properties Limited, the Ikeoha Foundation, and Beatrice N. Ekweremadu.
“By this application, the Court was made to inspect all of the assets named in the ex-parte action as belonging to Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Power Properties Limited, Ikeoha Foundation, and Beatrice Ekweremadu.
“However, the developments that have taken place following the court have provided a different image. It has been brought to my attention that there are affidavits to show cause filed by one Uni-Medical Health Care Limited and the Anambra State Government, both of which claim to be the owners of some of the properties whose ownership has been attributed to Senator Ike Ekweremadu.
Also, Power Properties Limited, the Ikeoha Foundation, and his wife, Beatrice Ekweremadu. I have taken note of these affidavits. These separate Affidavits to Show Cause are symptomatic of ill faith on the part of the Respondent (EFCC)”.”
On Friday, the Federal High Court in Abuja vacated the interim forfeiture order on forty landed properties that were allegedly linked to Ekweremadu, his wife Beatrice, the Foundation, and companies. The court found that the application for forfeiture brought by the EFCC was not brought in good faith and that the agency had also failed to disclose material facts about the case.
“In this matter, the respondent (EFCC) submitted Exhibit SIE 2 (a letter) to the Crown Prosecution Service in the United Kingdom. That letter was utilized as evidence to deny Senator Ike Ekweremadu bail in the criminal proceedings.
“At the same time, the respondent filed an ex-parte application for interim forfeiture, which, upon the order being made thereon, required Senator Ike Ekweremadu and his wife to show cause in Nigeria why an order for final forfeiture ought not to be made.
“At the same time, the respondent filed an ex-parte application for interim forfeiture, which “At the same time, the respondent filed an ex-parte application for interim
“I have been asking myself the issue repeatedly: How can a citizen of Nigeria who is detained outside of the nation to the knowledge of the respondent be required to show cause in an action in Nigeria initiated by the respondent?
“In other words, how are you supposed to help tie down a man, then start a fight, and then demand that the same man who you helped tie down defend himself?
“In my perspective, this is a very unacceptable behavior. Because of the way the respondent acted, it is quite evident that this action was undertaken in bad faith.
Dishonesty of belief or purpose is what the term “bad faith” refers to in legal terms. “I conclude that the application for forfeiture, going by the circumstances of this case, has not been submitted in good faith and needs to be stricken out,” the judge had declared before she made her decision.