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Non-Assets Declaration: Court fixes Feb. 25 to rule on Tumsah brothers’ motion

Abuja – The Federal High Court, Abuja on Wednesday, fixed Feb. 25 to rule on a motion filed by Ibrahim Tumsah and his brother Tijani Tumsah.

While Ibrahim is the Director of Finance and Accounts in the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Tijani is also a staff of the ministry.

National Industrial Court

They filed the motion challenging the powers of the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property to prosecute them.

The trial judge, Justice Edward Ekwo fixed the date after counsels to all parties in the suit adopted their submissions and written addresses.

Counsel to Ibrahim, Mr Abdul Mohammed relied on Section 4 (4) of Recovery of Public Property Special Provisions Act to urge the court to decline adjudicating on the matter.

Mohammed told the court that the panel had no prosecutorial powers, adding that the section provides for acts that could be undertaken by the presidential panel.

He maintained that a full panel of the Court of Appeal, had in a judgement delivered on Nov. 5, 2018, barred the panel from filing any charge against any person because it lacked such prosecutorial powers.

In his reply, Counsel to the Presidential Probe Panel, Mr Celsus Ukpong, opposed the applications and urged the court to dismiss them.

Ukpong argued that the Court of Appeal judgement was not applicable in the instant case.

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He opined that under Section 3(3) of the Recovery of Public Property Special Provisions Act, the president had the power to set up a probe panel.

According to him, the panel can sue on behalf of the president.

He further submitted that Section 4 (4) of the Act, which Mohammed referred to, mainly talked about suspects who had received and completed their asset declaration forms.

He said that where a person neglected and refused to declare their assets, that constituted a criminal act, liable to prosecution by a lawyer on behalf of the president.

Justice Ekwo thereafter adjourned the matter until Feb. 25 for ruling.

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The brothers were re-arraigned on Oct. 31, 2018, before Justice Ekwo over failure to declare their assets. (NAN)

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