SenatorIke Ekweremadu asked the court to dismiss the motion filed against him
The deputy Senate president reportedly failed to properly declared his assets
He said the government panel does not have the right to handle the case Senator Ike Ekweremadu who is the deputy Senate president has reportedly challenged the power of the Federal High Court in Abuja over call to grant interim ownership of his 22 properties to the Federal Government.
Vanguard reports that this was contained in a motion filed by his lead counsel, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo on Tuesday, April 10.
The deputy Senate president maintained that under the 1999 Constitution, as amended, the High Court, lacked the jurisdiction “to entertain and exercise judicial powers in matter related to, connected with and arising from the Code of Conduct and Declaration of Assets.
” An investigation was launched by the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property after it was alleged that EKweremadu did not properly declare his assets. Nine of the properties are in Abuja; two of them in London, the United Kingdom; eight in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates; and three in Florida, the United States.
Ekweremadu in his counter-motion said: “The so called Special Panel was never Gazetted in any publication in the Federal Government of Nigeria Gazette. The President and Commander-in-Chief never inaugurated any panel anytime and anywhere in Nigeria”,
“The Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) has laid down a set of guidelines for the behaviour of public officers. It is known as the Code of Conduct, which is contained in the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution.
“The Code of Conduct Bureau is an institution created by the Constitution and charged with ensuring compliance with the Code; whilst the Code of Conduct Tribunal is responsible for enforcing it.
“It is important to invite the court’s attention to the fact that the Recovery of Public Property (Special Provision) Act, CAP R4, LFN, 2004 gives jurisdiction to the Federal High Court under Section 2(2)b which is not only inconsistent with the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act but inconsistent with section 251 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which did not include code of conduct matters under the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court We refer to Trade Bank Plc vs Lagos Island Local Govt (2003) supra.
“My Lord, we submit that the constitution has already provided for the body to undertake this investigation and prosecution of offences related to and connected with asset declaration. It has done so and we are therefore bound to observe it under the doctrine of covering the field.
“This sole panel has no power to receive complaints, investigate and initiate criminal proceedings against the respondent concerning issues of Assets by a public officer. PAY
“We submit that the Federal High Court is a special court with limited jurisdiction as contained in Section 251 of the 1999 Constitution. “Violating the Code of Conduct for Public Officers is not one of the matters in respect of which jurisdiction has been conferred on the Federal High Court under Section 251 of the Constitution. Meanwhile, report has it that Senator Ekweremadu reportedly sold two of his three properties in Kissimmee, Florida, United States of America, according to Sahara Reporters.
It was reported that the Senate president’s properties are townhouses at 2747 Club Cortile Circle and 2763 Club Cortile Circle, Kissimmee, Florida The properties allegedly bought for $200,000 each were allegedly put on the market in January and sold for $150,000. It was reported that another property situated at 4507 Stella Street, Bellavida Estate Kissime, Florida has been put up for sale and still listed as being owned by Ekweremadu. Naij.com