Organ harvesting: EFCC responsible for my ordeal in UK, Ekweremadu tells court
The embattled former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, yesterday, accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, of being responsible for his continued detention in the United Kingdom, UK.
Ekweremadu, who is currently facing trial in the UK over an allegation that he brought one David Ukpo into the country to harvest his organ, in a fresh process he filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja, bemoaned that he would have been released on bail, if not for a letter he said was forwarded to the London Court by the EFCC.
It will be recalled that though the London Metropolitan Police arrested both Ekweremadu and his wife Beatrice, however, the UK Court, in a ruling it delivered on July 26, released his wife on bail, pending the determination of the case against them.
The UK court repeatedly rejected Ekweremadu’s plea for bail.
In the new process, he filed through his team of lawyers led by Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, Ekweremadu, maintained that his travail in the UK was compounded by the anti-graft agency.
He further accused the EFCC of surreptitiously moving to seize his properties, after it ensured his continued detention with its letter.
The detained lawmaker, in his application, begged the court to vacate the interim order it made on November 4, which gave EFCC the nod to confiscate 40 of his properties
Trial Justice Inyang Ekwo granted the interim forfeiture order on the strength of an ex-parte application that was brought before the court by the EFCC.
Attached to the ex-parte application marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1242/2022, was an affidavit of urgency that identified the properties as the subject of an ongoing investigation.
EFCC told the court that the landed properties, 10 of which are situated in Enugu; three in the United States of America,USA;two in the United Kingdom, UK; one in Lagos, nine in Dubai, and 15 located in the Federal Capital Territory, are suspected to have been acquired with proceeds of crime.
While granting the interim forfeiture order, Justice Ekwo, ordered the anti-graft agency to within seven days, publish it in a national daily to enable anyone that has an interest in any of the properties, to approach the court.
However, determined to secure his properties, Ekweremadu, in his application, insisted that the forfeiture order was granted in error, alleging that the EFCC suppressed material facts relating to the properties.
He told the court that the anti-graft agency fraudulently obtained the forfeiture order by concealing the information that the 40 properties have been the subject of an investigation that started in 2008.
Ekweremadu argued that contrary to EFCC’s claim, there was no urgency to warrant the issuance of an order of interim forfeiture of the properties.
More so, he stressed that the EFCC was aware that he was in detention in the UK, when it brought the application for the forfeiture of his properties, before the court.
He accused the EFCC of deliberately refusing to disclose to the court that he was in detention and would not be able to counter the forfeiture request.
Consequently, he prayed the court to set aside the forfeiture order and stay proceedings in the matter until he resolves his case before the London Court.
Meanwhile, the EFCC, through its lawyer, Mr. Silvanus Tahir, SAN, denied the allegation that it was behind Ekweremadu’s ordeal in the UK.
Tahir, SAN, however, admitted that the agency wrote the Uk Court, based on a special request.
He said it was a normal routine for anti-graft agencies all over the world to exchange information that is mutually beneficial to them.
Though EFCC said it was not opposed to Ekweremadu’s request for proceedings in the matter to be suspended until his return, it however rejected his request for the interim forfeiture order to be vacated.
After he had listened to both parties, Justice Ekwo adjourned the matter till January 25, 2023, for the ruling.