Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has described as political witch-hunt by an illegal body, the assets’ forfeiture case launched against him.
Uche Anichukwu, media aide to Ekweremadu said it was against natural justice for lawyers of the All Progressives Congress, APC, extraction to constitute themselves into a panel to try members of the opposition, relying on Decree 3 of 1984, now known as the Recovery of Public Property (Special Provisions) Act, 2004.
The Federal Government had asked the Federal High Court in Abuja to freeze undeclared assets that were traced to him.
Anichukwu in a statement noted that not only was the law already overtaken by the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, 2004, but that the Panel was also not Gazetted in any publication by the Federal Government of Nigeria Gazette or inaugurated by the President.
“So, considering the Senator ’s ordeals since his re-emergence as the Deputy President of the Senate in 2015, and with 2019 election fast-approaching, no one needs any soothsayer to know that the FG up to something more sinister and diabolical of which the asset forfeiture lawsuit is a launch pad.”
He explained: “As earlier clarified by the Senator, the list contains so many fictitious and repeated properties generated by the dismissed Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice Innocent Umezulike, who, in his capacity as the Chief Judge of the State in 2016, colluded with his lawyer, Barrister Tagbo Ike, and some politicians, to steal and doctor his will. They then churned out petitions to many government agencies.
“Should proper investigation devoid of bias and witch-hunt not require that Ekweremadu be invited to respond to the petition, assuming the panel had the constitutional powers to dabble into matters relating to assets declaration?
“But the Panel instead approached the court by way of Motion Ex-parte, which would allow it obtain an interim forfeiture order against the distinguished Senator, without hearing him, just to achieve a maximum smear effect.
“The fact that the petition was authored by a former Chief Judge, who was sacked by the National Judicial Council for corruption and gross abuse of office and is currently facing corruption trial at the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt and High Court of Enugu State, was more reason his petition should have been treated with wariness.
“Besides, it is on record, as recently reported by some national dailies, that the AGF had in a letter dated November 1, 2017 and signed by the Solicitor-General of the Federation, withdrawn Notices of Investigation, which Obono-Obla sent to some Judges of the Federal High Court, requesting them to fill assets declaration forms all over in clear overreach of his purported powers.