The Federal Government, yesterday, approached the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja praying for an order of forfeiture of 22 properties belonging to the Deputy Senate President, Dr. Ike Ekweremadu.
The properties are located in Abuja, London, Dubai and Florida, United States. The Federal Government, through a motion ex-parte, filed by Festus Keyamo (SAN), is praying the court for an interim order attaching/forfeiting 22 properties to the Federal Government of Nigeria pending the conclusion of further inquiry/investigation by the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public.
Property and/or possible arraignment of the respondent.
The Federal Government had listed in Schedule A, properties declared by Ekweremadu in his Assets Declaration Form and Schedule B, properties not declared in the Assets Declaration Form.
Out of the 22 undeclared assets, nine are located in Abuja; two in London; eight in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and three in Florida, United States.
The nine properties that the government seeks the forfeiture are: No. 11, Evans Enwerem Street, Apo Legislative Quarters, Apo, Abuja; Plot 2633 Kyami, Abuja; Plot 1106 CRD, Cadastral Zone 07-07, Lugbe, Abuja; Plot 2782 Asokoro Extension, Abuja and Houses at Citi Park Estate, Gwagwalada, Abuja.
Others are Plot 1474 Cadastral Zone BD6, Mabushi, Abuja; Congress Court, Abuja; Flat 1, Block D25, Athletics Street, (24th Street) Games Village, Abuja and Plot 66, 64 Crescent, Gwarimpa Estate, Abuja.
The two properties located in London are: Flat 4 Varsity Court, Harmer Street, WIH 4NW, London and 52 Ayleston Avenue, NW6 7AB, London.
Eight of the said properties are located in Dubai. The properties are: Room 1903, The Address Hotel, Downtown Dubai; The Address Boulevard, 3901, Dubai; two flats of Burij Side Boulevard (the signature), Dubai and Emirate Gardens Apartment No. EGG1/1/114, Dubai.
Others are Emirate Gardens Apartment No. EGG1/115, Dubai; Apartment No. DFB/12/B 1204, Park Towers, Dubai; Flat 3604, MAG214, Dubai and Villa No 148, Maeen 1, The Lakes Emirates Hills, Dubai.
Three of the properties are said to be located in Florida, USA. Such properties are: 4507 Stella Street, Bellavida Estate Kissime, Florida, USA; 2747 Club Cortile Circle, Kissime, Florida, USA and 2763 Club Cortile Circle, Kissime, Florida, USA.
The Federal Government is seeking the forfeiture on four grounds:
One, that the properties listed in Schedule A were the properties declared by the Respondent (Ekweremadu) in his Assets Declaration Form at the Code of Conduct Bureau.
Two, that on-going investigation/inquiries have revealed that the properties listed in Schedule B also belong to the Respondent and so belonged to him when he declared his assets in Schedule A.
Three, that the properties listed in Schedule B were not declared in the Assets Declaration Form of the Respondent.
Four, that preliminary investigation by the Applicant (Federal Government) reveals that a prima facie case of a breach of Code of Conduct for Public Officers has been made out against the Respondent (Ekweremadu).
In a four-paragraph affidavit in support of the application, deposed to by one Yohanna Shankuk, the Federal Government averred that a petition written against the respondent by Justice A.I Umezulike, retired Chief Judge of Enugu State was forwarded to the special presidential investigation panel for recovery of public property.
He further averred that on receipt of the petition, the panel commenced investigation and preliminary findings indicated that some properties allegedly owned by the respondent actually belonged to him.
He also averred that the respondent has been a public officer since 1999 and has not earned anything outside his salaries and allowances.