The Anambra State government and others, on Monday, protested the inclusion of a number of its properties in the interim forfeiture order against 40 properties linked to the former deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.
Recall that the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja had on November 4, 2022, granted an interim forfeiture order against the affected properties following an exparte motion filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC against the defendant.
EFCC’s lawyer, Mr. Ibrahim Buba, had told the court that the affected properties linked to Ekweremadu were in Dubai, United States and across Nigeria with clues they might have been acquired through the diversion of public funds.
Recall that presiding judge Justice Inyang Ekwo had granted the interim forfeiture order while ordering parties to show cause why any of the properties should not be forfeited to the federal government permanently.
On Monday, a litigation secretary from the Law Office of C.I. Igbinedion, Amah Kalu stated in his affidavit to show cause that he was authorized by the Anambra state government to recover ‘House No. 14/16 Charles Street GRA, Enugu” which EFCC listed as belonging to Ekweremadu in the order.
He claimed that Enugu was created from the old Anambra state by Head of State Ibrahim Babangida in 1991 and in a white paper endorsed by the government at the time, five residential properties hitherto jointly owned by both states were transferred to the Anambra state government as its guest house.
He alleged in his court document seen by our correspondent that in 2018, the Anambra state government read in the news where EFCC quizzed the former deputy senate president on the said property(now renamed) and that Ekweremadu had replied to its allegation insisting he is the rightful owner of the property.
Kalu continued that the development resulted in the Anambra state government suing Ekweremadu on 4th of March 2022, before the High Court of Enugu, for claiming the affected property as his.
He urged the court to remove the property from those temporarily forfeited because the matter is still pending a “court of competent and coordinate jurisdiction.”
Another lawyer, Kingsley Ugwu prayed the court at the same proceeding, to remove Uni-Medical HealthCare Limited, Plot 680 and 681 Independence Layout, Enugu, from the property EFCC claimed belonging to Ekweremadu.
As seen on his court document, he maintained that his client who is currently in possession of the property is its legal owner and bonafide purchaser for value without knowledge of any adverse interest.
Responding, Justice Ekwo directed the EFCC’s main lawyer, Sylvanus Tahir SAN to respond to the processes of the parties showing cause against affected properties.
He subsequently fixed December 15 for hearing.
Recall that the Ex-Deputy Senate President is still in detention in UK, facing an ongoing court case of alleged organ harvesting and human trafficking.