July 31, 2018

EFCC grills Ekweremadu over local, foreign assets

•Senator Ike Ekewremadu

…My hands are clean-DSP

By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor

Abuja: After many weeks of drama over undeclared assets, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, finally reported to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to answer questions of the multiple assets in Nigeria and abroad ascribed to him.

•Senator Ekewremadu

The DSP, who arrived the anti-graft agency’s office early in the day, was immediately taken in to meet with his interrogators, who confronted him on the many choice properties in Nigeria, United States of America and United Arab Emirates, which they claimed were acquired with proceeds of crime while the politician is in public office.

In particular, the detectives confronted Ekweremadu on how he acquired the assets, when and how they were paid for and by who and whether he declared them before the Code of Conduct Bureau as stipulated for all public officers of his standing.

The Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed to Vanguard that Ekweremadu was being interrogated by its operatives as the time of filing the story around 6pm on Tuesday.

“Wilson said, “It is true that the Deputy Senate President honoured our invitation today and our people are currently talking with him but I will not say anything more than that for now.

It was not clear as at the time of filing the story if the operatives would admit Ekweremadu on administrative bail since he is not covered by immunity to avoid being detained.

It will be recalled that EFCC had last week gone to the Abuja home of the legislator to serve him notice of the impending interrogation, a development that attracted widespread condemnation.

The assets for which the DSP is being questioned were reportedly discovered by the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property, which has come under serious attack by the National Assembly, which has also called for the abrogation of the panel with immediate effect.

Some of the choice houses, which have come under EFCC’s searchlight in the last one year, include those in the UAE marked: EGG1/1/114 and EGG1/1/115 Emirates Garden, Apartment DFB/12/B 1204 Park Towers, Flat 3604, MAG214 and Villa No.148, MAEEN1 The Lakes, Emirate Hills.

The others are: Boulevard 3901, two flats of Burij Side Boulevard, The Signature; and Room 1903, Hotel Downtown.

In the United Kingdom, the politician is reported to have acquired: Flat 4 Varsity Court, Homer Street, WIH 4NW London and 52 Ayleston Avenue, NW6, London, while he allegedly secured choice houses namely: 4507 Stella Street, Bellavida Estate, Kissimmee, Florida; 2747 Club Cortile Circle, Kissimmee, Florida and 2763 Club Cortile Circle, Kissimmee, Florida in the United States.

But Ekweremadu has consistently denied owning the houses and claims the allegations are politically motivated in relation to the 2019 election.

In a statement by his Media aide, Uche Anichukwu, the politician said he had nothing to hide and would be victorious over his opponents.

“The attention of the Office of the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has been drawn to a motion ex-parte filed by Festus Kenyamo on behalf of the so-called Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property for an order to temporarily forfeit assets it claimed the Senator did not declare with the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB.

“Senator Ekweremadu, however, wishes to state unequivocally that he declared all his assets with the Code of Conduct Bureau as required by law.

“The so-called panel sought and obtained his Assets Declaration Form but could not look at them since it is clearly out on a vendetta and smear campaign.

“This is clearly part of the politics of 2019, and is further exposing those who colluded with the dismissed former Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice Innocent Umezulike and his cronies to steal and doctor his will.

“The Senator has, nevertheless, briefed his lawyers and will meet the panel in court. Again, Senator Ekweremadu wishes to assure all his supporters and well-wishes that there is nothing to worry about. Like others, this will pass away,” he said.