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We have no hands in Ekweremadu’s London detention, EFCC tells court

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Thursday, told the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court that it was not behind the continuous detention of former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, in the United Kingdom (UK).

Counsel to the EFCC, Sylvanus Tahir, SAN, told Justice Inyang Ekwo while arguing his counter affidavit filed in opposition to a motion filed by Ekweremadu’s eldest son, Lloyd, seeking a court order vacating the November 4 interim order of forfeiture on 40 property linked to his father.

Mr Tahir disagreed with Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, lawyer to Mr Ekweremadu, who had earlier, in his argument, said that the anti-graft agency wrote a letter to the London court that made the foreign court refuse to admit his client to bail.

But Mr Tahir denied that the anti-corruption commission was behind Mr Ekweremadu’s ordeal.

The lawyer said that though the EFCC wrote a letter to London court, it was based on a special request from the court.

He said the allegation raised by the Ekweremadus about the complicity of the EFCC in the senator’s travail was a total misconception.

He said the EFCC was neither the agency that arrested Mr Ekweremadu and his wife in London nor was it a party in the case abroad.

“They (Ike Ekweremadu and wife) were held by the UK authorities on organ harvesting which is not part of our mandate,” he said. 

Mr Tahir, who said that a government agency in London requested for an information, said it was an international best practice that different international agencies share information, including the Interpol, FBI, etc, to help facilitate their work.

The lawyer prayed the court to dismiss Mr Ekweremadu’s application seeking an order to set aside the forfeiture order.

Earlier, Mr Awomolo, while arguing the motion on notice marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1242/2022 which was filed by Lloyd, had alleged that the EFCC was responsible for the prolonged detention of his client.

Mr Ekweremadu is currently in custody in the UK, over allegations bordering on organ trafficking of David Ukpo, who is said to be a minor.

But in the affidavit in support of the motion filed by Lloyd, Mr Ekweremadu’s son alleged that the EFCC was responsible for the continuous detention of his father abroad.

“On the 21st of June 2022, my father Senator Ike Ekweremadu was arrested with my mother Beatrice N. Ekweremadu in London, United Kingdom over allegations of conspiracy to traffick a person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting.

“That the arrest and detention of Senator Ike Ekweremadu and Beatrice Ekweremadu in the United Kingdom has been a matter of public knowledge and media discussion in Nigeria and abroad.

“That my father, Senator Ike Ekweremadu and my mother, Beatrice Ekweremadu, were remanded in prison from the date of their arrest and they made applications for bail pending the hearing of the criminal charges against them.

“I know as a fact that the arrest, detention and incarceration of both my parents in London prison custody is a matter within the knowledge of the Respondent (EFCC),” he averred.

According to Lloyd, the Crown Prosecution Service, who is the prosecuting authority in the UK as part of the proceedings in connection with the bail application of my parents, wrote to the Chairman and Chief Executive of the respondent (EFCC) on the 17th day of July, 2022 concerning my father’s records with the commission.

He said that the EFCC, in a letter referenced: CB 9000/EFCC/DOPS/Vol.03/10, dated July 18 and signed by ACE I. Abdulkarim Chukkol, replied the Metropolitan Police Central Specialist Crime, London.

He alleged that the anti-graft agency, in the letter, stated that “investigation is at an advanced stage and the commission is working towards non-conviction based forfeiture of some of the properties and subsequent filing of criminal charges against the subject and his co-conspirators.”

According to Lloyd, the letter was relied upon in the process as filed by the Crown Prosecution, to oppose the bail application and the bail was among other reasons refused on the basis of the letter from the respondent (EFCC).

Mr Awomolo, therefore, urged the court to vacate the interim order that was filed in bad faith.

Justice Ekwo adjourned the matter until January 25 for ruling.

(NAN)

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