A Federal High Court in Abuja has struck out the case of non-declaration of assets against former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, by the defunct Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property.
Justice Binta Nyako on Monday ruled that the “the case is hereby struck out for want of diligent prosecution. The prosecution is allowed to come back whenever they are ready to proceed with the case.”
The Okoi Obono-Obla-led panel had filed the charges and proceeded to attach 22 properties allegedly belonging to Ekweramadu before it was disbanded in 2019 by President Muhammadu Buhari, who directed the office of the Attorney General of the Federation to takeover all cases under the panel.
At the resumed hearing, counsel from the office of the AGF, Pius Akutah, told the court that the office had not been able to retrieve the casefile from the lawyer who previously handled the matter. He asked the court to order the counsel to produce the file.
But Ekweremadu’s counsel, Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN) asked the court to strike out the case for want of diligent prosecution.
Ekweremadu had in an application in April, 2019 contended that asset declaration matters is under the purview of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), which only the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) can try.
He argued that the panel is an illegal body as it was not established by an Act of the National Assembly.