On Thursday, the Federal High Court in Abuja refused a government order to issue an arrest warrant against the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu. The request for an arrest warrant was carried out on behalf of the Government by the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property.
This recent development is due to the absence of the Senator, who was scheduled to be arraigned on Wednesday on charges of non-declaration of assets. The prosecuting counsel, Mr. Celcus Ukpong, informed the judge, Justice Binta Nyako, that two counts of failure to declare assets were filed against the senator on May 11, 2018.
Ukpong said the summons for the arraignment had been sent to Ekweremadu but he chose to ignore it. He said, “ He decided not to obey the summons. We, therefore, apply for a bench warrant to be issued against him .” In response to the prosecuting counsel, Ekweremadu’s lawyer, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), urged the court to disregard the application for an arrest warrant against his client.
Ekweremadu ‘s properties targeted for interim forfeiture comprised nine in Abuja, two in London, eight in Dubai, and three in Florida, USA.
Following its findings on the allegedly undeclared assets, the panel, in May this year , filed two counts against Ekweremadu, alleging in one of the counts in the case marked FHC / ABJ /CR / 62 / 2018 , that upon notice to declare his assets in the manner prescribed by the SPIPRPP, the Deputy Senate President “refused” to make the declaration “ without reasonable excuse .”
In the second count, the prosecution alleged that the defendant “neglected to declare ” his assets “without reasonable excuse upon the notice to declare ” his assets “ in the manner prescribed by the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property ”.
The alleged offenses were said to be contrary to and punishable under Section 3 ( 3) ( 1 ) ( a ) of the Recovery of Public Property ( Special Provision ) Act 2004.