The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, Thursday turned down the request by the Federal Government to issue an arrest warrant against the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.
The Federal Government, through the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property, had asked the court to order the arrest of Ekweremadu following 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.
According to Ukpong, the summons for the arraignment scheduled for Wednesday had been served on the Deputy Senate President, but he chose to ignore it.
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He said: “He decided not to obey the summons. We, therefore, apply for a bench warrant to be issued against him.”
Counsel to Ekweremadu, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, in his response, prayed the court to disregard the application for a bench warrant to be issued against his client.
He also informed the court that his client had, on November 1, 2018, filed a motion challenging the competence of the charges and the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the case.
Awomolo further argued that without first resolving the application, the matter could not proceed to stage of arraignment.
He cited some Supreme Court decisions to back his contention.
The special investigation panel is seeking the interim forfeiture of about nine properties belonging to Ekweremadu in Abuja, two in London, eight in Dubai, and three in Florida, USA.
The presidential panel has brought a two count charge against Ekweremadu bothering on failure to declare his assets.
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