Fresh relief came the way of the embattled Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu at an Abuja High Court when the trial Judge turned down a request from the Special Presidential Investigative Panel For The Recovery Of Public Assets.
The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court as at yesterday declined to order the arrest of the Deputy Senate President following his absence in court to face trial over his alleged refusal to declare his assets to the Special Presidential Investigative Panel for the Recovery of Public Assets.
The Deputy Senate President has been under a legal battle over an alledge failure to declare his assets and has failed to appear in court.
The court, in a ruling that was delivered by trial Justice Binta Nyako, turned down an application the Chief Okio Obono-Obla led Presidential Panel made for a bench warrant to be issued against Ekweremadu.
Justice Nyako said she was not unmindful of the fact that Ekweremadu had earlier filed processes to challenge the jurisdiction of the court, as well as the legal competence of the two-count criminal charge the Panel preferred against him.
The Panel had through its lawyer, Mr. Celsius Ukpong, insisted that Ekweremadu ought to physically appear before the court to either enter his plea to the charge, or to query the validity of his trial..
It told the court that the defendant was duly served with all the relevant processes in the charge that was entered against him since May 11.
The prosecution accused Ekweremadu of deliberately making himself unavailable in court so as to frustrate his trial.
However, Ekweremadu’s lawyer, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, persuaded the court to reject the application which he said was highly unmeritorious.
Aside drawing the attention of the court to his client’s grounds of objection, the defence lawyer, said it was more honourable for the Presidential Panel to withdraw the charge since the Court of Appeal has declared its operations illegal.
After she had listened to both parties, Justice Nyako, said there was no necessity for the court to issue a bench warrant against Ekweremadu.
The Judge subsequently adjourned the case till February 26, 2019, to hear Ekweremadu’s preliminary objections to his trial.