Court refuses presidential asset recovery panel’s request to arrest Ekweremadu
The Chief Okio Obono-Obla led Presidential Panel on Thursday, November 8, 2018, asked a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja to issue a bench warrant against the deputy Senate president, Ike Ekweremadu.
The senator was charged with alleged refusal to declare their assets to the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property
Celcius Ukpong, the prosecution counsel, while making his submission said Mr Ekweremadu had refused to obey court order despite being served with the court processes. He urged the court to issue a warrant for arrest to enable them arraign the defendant.
Responding to the request for a bench warrant, counsel to Ekweremadu, Adegboyega Awomolo, said his client is not obligated to appear before the court until the issue of jurisdiction is settled. He told the court that an application challenging the jurisdiction of the court as well as the legal competence of the charge brought by the panel was filed by the defence on November 1, 2018. He also claimed the application was served on the prosecution. Awomolo urged the court to discountenance the application for an arrest warrant.
Mr Ukpong denied the claim that the application has been served on them. Moments later, the learned silk acknowledged that he serve the application in error to the chambers of Festus Kayama.
Addressing the prosecution, Presiding judge, Justice Binta Nyako said it is their responsibility to bring the defendant to court. She said the issue of bench warrant would be revisited only after she has delivered ruling on the defendant’s application on jurisdiction.
The case has been adjourned to February 26, 2019