The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, struck out the non- declaration of assets charges filed against a former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu by the defunct Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property (SPIP).
SPIP had in 2018 arraigned Ekweremadu for allegedly refusing to declare his assets after he was served the panel’s “notice to that effect.
Justice Binta Nyako, who delivered the Monday’s verdict, dismissed the case for want of diligent prosecution.
The Office of the Attorney General of the Federation (OAGF) took over the case and other suits handled by the panel after it was dissolved by the presidency in 2019.
At the resumed hearing on Monday, the prosecuting counsel from the office of the AGF, Mr. Pius Akutah, told the court that the former lawyer handling the case for the panel had disappeared with the case file.
Akutah pleaded with the judge to order the former counsel to release the file to the AGF’s office.
But Ekweremadu’s lawyer, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), urged the judge to strike out the case.
“In the alternative, My Lord can adjourn the case sine die (indefinitely),” Awomolo said.
In her ruling, Justice Nyako dismissed the prosecution’s request and struck out the matter.
She said: “You are Attorney General (referring to the lawyer as representing the AGF). You should know what to do.
“You should not be waiting for me to make an order against an individual.
“So, as it is today, you don’t know the case against the defendant since you don’t have the file. I am going to strike out the case. When you are ready, you can come back.
“The case is hereby struck out for want of diligent prosecution. The prosecution is allowed to come back whenever they are ready to proceed with the case.”
SPIP had on May 11, 2018, filed a two-count charge against Ekweremadu, alleging that he failed to declare nine assets in Abuja, two in London, the United Kingdom; eight in Dubai, the United Arab Emirate; and three in Florida, the United States. (NAN)