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Court dismisses asset case against Ekweremadu

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A federal high court in Abuja has struck out charges of non-declaration of assets filed against Ike Ekweremadu, former deputy senate president, by the federal government.

The Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property (SPIP) filed the suit against the senator in 2018.

The panel alleged Ekweremadu refused to declare his assets according to the procedures prescribed for public officers. It sought a temporary forfeiture of the alleged undeclared assets linked to the senator.

Twenty-two properties were reportedly traced to the former deputy senate president — nine in Nigeria, two in the UK, eight in Dubai and three in the US.

But Ekweremadu had described the suit as “laughable and malicious”, saying he is not obligated by law to declare his assets to the panel.

In 2019, the office of the attorney-general of the federation took over the case and other cases being handled by the SPIP after the panel was dissolved.

In her ruling on Monday, Binta Nyako, the judge, struck out the case against Ekweremadu after Pius Akutah, the prosecuting counsel from the office of the attorney-general of the federation, said the former lawyer handling the case for the panel “had disappeared with the case file”.

Akutah asked the judge to order the former counsel to release the file to the AGF’s office. But his request was declined.

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