The Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Center), a non-governmental and non-partisan human rights and development league, has petitioned the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), demanding the investigation of asset declaration form of the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu.
In a petition forwarded to the chairman of the Bureau and and signed by the chairman of HEDA, Olanrewaju Suraju, the group said it is also demanding the prosecution of the lawmaker if found wanting.
The petition reads in part, “The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, has been reported to have asked the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court to stop the government from temporarily forfeiting assets traced to him. This was reported on Wednesday April 11, 2018 by Premium Times.
“It was further reported that Mr. Ekweremadu’s lawyer, Mr. Adegboyega Awolomo (SAN) made the application in Court on Tuesday April 10, 2018 at the hearing of the exparte motion filed by legal practitioner, Mr. Festus Keyamo (SAN) on behalf of the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property. The motion marked FHC/ABJ/CS/284/2018, specifically applied for an interim court order “temporarily attaching/forfeiting the properties listed in Schedule B hereunder, to the Federal Government of Nigeria, pending the conclusion of further inquiry/investigation by the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property and/or possible arraignment of the Respondent”.
“The motion was based on section 330 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, section 8 of the Recovery of Public Property (Special Provisions) Act, section 44 (2) (K) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
The panel accused Mr. Ekweremadu, who represents Enugu West Senatorial District, of failing to declare the said assets, comprising mostly of lands and buildings located in Nigeria, Dubai, London and United States amounting to billions of Naira.
“Therefore, the Panel through its lawyer asked the court to order the temporary forfeiture of the assets as contained in the exparte motion claiming that the temporary forfeiture of the assets would aid speedy investigations into the alleged Offences.”
HEDA listed the properties listed in the Schedule B, which the federal government is seeking to seize from Mr. Ekweremadu over his failure to declare them, are: “No. 11, Evans Enwerem Street, Apo Legislative Quarters, Apo, Abuja; Plot 2633 Kyami, Abuja, Housing Estate; (Plot 1106 CRD, Cadastral Zone 07-07, Lugbe, Abuja; Plot 2782 Asokoro Extension, Abuja; Houses at Citi Park Estate, Gwagwalada, Abuja; Plot 1474 Cadastral Zone BD6, Mabushi, Abuja; Congress Court, Abuja; Flat 1, Block D25, Athletics Street, (24th Street) Games Village, Abuja and Plot 66, 64 Crescent, Gwarimpa Estate, Abuja. Others located in London are, Flat 4 Varsity Court, Harmer Street, WIH 4NW, London; 52 Ayleston Avenue, NW6 7AB, London. And those in Dubai and USA are; Room 1903, The Address Hotel, Downtown Dubai; The Address Boulevard, 3901, Dubai; 2 Flats of Burij Side Boulevard (the signature), Dubai; Emirate Gardens Apartment No. EGG1/1/114, Dubai; Emirate Gardens Apartment No. EGG1/115, Dubai; Apartment No. DFB/12/B 1204, Park Towers, Dubai; Flat 3604, MAG214, Dubai and Villa No 148, Maeen 1, The Lakes Emirates Hills, Dubai; 4507 Stella Street, Bellavida Estate Kissime, Florida, USA; 2747 Club Cortile Circle, Kissime, Florida, USA and 2763 Club Cortile Circle, Kissime, Florida, USA”
HEDA said, ‘It is our submission that the application made by Senator Ekweremadu to court through his lawyer, Mr. Adegboyega Awolomo to stop the government from temporally seizing the assets in question is an admission to the ownership of the properties because, if the properties were not belonging to him, he will not have minded its forfeiture.
“However, on this ground, we are calling on your good office to investigate the asset declaration form of Mr. Ekweremadu and establish if these properties were listed in the form. Where these properties are listed, Mr. Ekweremadu must be invited to explain sources of resources used In acquisition of such properties, as a public office holder. In the case of failure to declare, your bureau is charged to commence immediate and timely prosecution of Mr. Ekweremadu and subsequent forfeiture of these assets to the Federal government of Nigerian.
“We shall look forward to your timely action and response on this request. Failure to act as expected will compel our organisation to proceed with local and international judicial action on this matter,” HEDA said.