Ike Ekweremadu, a troubled former deputy president of the Senate, claimed on Thursday that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, was to blame for his ongoing detention in the United Kingdom, UK.
Ekweremadu bemoaned that he would have been released on bail, if not for a letter he claimed was forwarded to the London Court by the EFCC. Ekweremadu is currently facing trial in the UK over an allegation that he brought one David Ukpo into the country in order to harvest his organ.
Recall that despite the fact that Ekweremadu and his wife Beatrice were both detained by the London Metropolitan Police, the UK Court, in a decision issued on July 26, freed his wife on bail pending the outcome of the charges brought against them.
Ekweremadu’s request for bail was repeatedly denied by the UK court.
Ekweremadu said that the anti-graft agency had made his difficulties in the UK worse in the fresh legal action he had filed through his team of attorneys, which was chaired by Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN.
He further claimed that the EFCC, after ensuring his continuous imprisonment with its letter, had moved covertly to seize his property.
In his suit, the imprisoned legislator pleaded with the court to overturn the temporary injunction it issued on November 4 allowing the EFCC to seize 40 of his properties.
The interim forfeiture order was given by Trial Justice Inyang Ekwo on the basis of an ex-parte motion that the EFCC had filed with the court.
An affidavit of urgency stating that the properties were the focus of an ongoing investigation was attached to the ex-parte application with the file number FHC/ABJ/CS/1242/2022.
10 of the landed properties are located in Enugu, three are in the United States of America, two are in the United Kingdom, one is in Lagos, nine are in Dubai, and 15 are in the Federal Capital Territory. The EFCC informed the court that they suspect the proceeds of crime were used to purchase these properties.
Justice Ekwo issued the temporary forfeiture order and instructed the anti-graft agency to publish it in a national daily within seven days so that anyone with a claim to any of the properties may approach the court.
Desperate to keep his holdings, Ekweremadu argued in his plea that the forfeiture judgment had been issued in error, claiming that the EFCC had withheld crucial information on the estates.
He testified before the court that the anti-graft agency got the seizure order fraudulently by hiding the fact that the 40 properties were the focus of an inquiry that began in 2008.
Contrary to what the EFCC claimed, Ekweremadu contended that there was no urgency to support the issuing of an order for the interim seizure of the properties.
Further, he emphasized that the EFCC had informed the court of his detention in the UK when it filed the case for the confiscation of his assets.
He claimed that the EFCC purposefully failed to inform the court that he was being held in custody and would be unable to object to the forfeiture motion.
As a result, he asked the court to reverse the forfeiture decision and halt further action until he won his case in the London Court.
Meanwhile, the EFCC refuted the claim that it was responsible for Ekweremadu’s torture in the UK through the representation of Mr. Silvanus Tahir, SAN.
However, Tahir, SAN, acknowledged that the agency wrote the UK Court in response to a particular request.
He claimed that sharing information that is advantageous to both parties is standard procedure for anti-corruption organizations around the globe.
EFCC stated that it was not opposed to Ekweremadu’s request to halt the case’s proceedings until he returned, but it denied his bid to have the interim forfeiture order overturned.
Justice Ekwo deferred the case to January 25, 2023, for a ruling after hearing from both sides.