DRAMA IN THE SENATE AS LAWAN,OMO-AGEGE ABSENT DURING PLENARy
DRAMA IN THE SENATE AS LAWAN, -AGEGE ABSENT DURING PLENARY
[12/15, 12:48 PM] Head Office Of IT: *DRAMA IN THE SENATE AS LAWAN, OMO-AGEGE ABSENT DURING PLENARY* | Southwest First Alert Magazine
There was mild drama yesterday in the Senate as the absence of President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan and his deputy, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege over delayed plenary session, thereby heightening tension among the Senators.
Trouble started yesterday when Senators were already at the door of the floor, the new chamber in anticipation of commencement of plenary, but after some hours, the two presiding officers were not available and there was no communication to the Senators.
Having waited for a period of time, the Senators had to leave. The lawmakers started leaving the chamber at 12.10pm, plenary that ordinarily would have started at 10am as they were later begged to come back.
Although Senators of the ninth assembly have recently begun to start plenary sessions late, but yesterday’s incident was different.
A source said that the President of the Senate was out of Abuja apparently for the Presidential campaigns and the Deputy was in Delta for his gubernatorial aspiration.
It was also gathered that to save the situation, the Deputy President of the Senate had to rush back from Delta State to preside over plenary.
There was no communication with regard to suspension or delay in the commencement of the plenary, but it was gathered that there were feelers that plenary session was not going to hold yesterday.
Plenary was however stalled because the two presiding Officers were absent and in line with Order 21, 22 of the Senate Standing Orders 2022 As amended, nobody can preside except there is an appointment of a President Pro- Tempore ” and this did not happen.
The situation was the first of its kind since the 9th Senate. Omo-Agege later arrived at the chamber and plenary commenced at 12.40pm.
Soon after the commencement of plenary, Senator George Sekibo, PDP, Rivers East raised a point of order relying on Orders 10, 11, 20( a), 21 and 22 of the Senate Standing Orders 2022 as Amended.
The rules provide that where the Senate President and his deputy are absent from plenary, another Senator can be appointed to chair the plenary in their place.
Sekibo who noted that he was not raising the issue “in bad faith”, however wondered why no communication was made to Senators who had arrived at the chamber and waited hours for plenary.
He said, “Thank God we were able to arrive here to sit at 12 p.m., but senators are not supposed to come and wait. “Next time, if you know you are in a tight corner, kindly inform someone and make necessary arrangements rather than keep them waiting.”
He warned that if the incident was ignored, it was capable of setting a precedent, which will not portray the Senate well.
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[12/16, 1:31 AM] Head Office Of IT: We’re not behind your travails, EFCC replies Ekweremadu
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has replied the embattled former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, on the claim that the Commission is behind his bail refusal by the United Kingdom authorities.
Ekweremadu had earlier told Justice Inyang Ekwo of a Federal High Court in Abuja that EFCC was responsible for his travails at the London Court where he had been in detention over alleged organ harvest.
The senator’s allegations were contained in an application he filed before the federal high court seeking an order of the court to set aside interim order granted in favour of the Federal Government for the forfeiture of his 40 properties in and outside the country.
However, in its counter affidavit, the EFCC argued that the allegations made against it by Ekweremadu’s son showed he was not conversant with the proceedings in the criminal prosecution against his parents in the London court, which was why he thought the EFCC “has a hand in the predicament and travails of his parents.”
The EFCC, while not denying communicating with the UK authorities, said its July 18 2022 letter to the Crown Prosecution Service, UK, was in response to the Crown Prosecution’s letter of July 17, 2022 “was a mere routine to a counterpart government agency in accordance with the global best practice of information sharing with other law enforcement and other agencies in the USA and UK
“The response of the respondent to the Crown Prosecution Service was never an instigation or encouragement to the Crown Prosecution Service to detain Senator Ike Ekweremadu or anyone else, as the respondent was neither linked to nor had any interest in the subject of investigation in the U.K., namely trafficking a person with a view to exploitation, that is, organ harvesting.
“Both the Metropolitan Police and Crown Prosecution Service in the U.K. are independent agencies with wide discretion to carry out their duties/responsibilities and cannot be influenced by anyone, including the respondent.
“The respondent, being a foremost premiere and flagship law enforcement agency does share information and intelligence with other law enforcement agencies worldwide including the Metropolitan Police of the UK, FBI of the United States, KGB of Russia and other renowned law enforcement agencies.
“As such, the innuendoes, insinuations speculations and presumptions manifest in the aforementioned paragraphs of Lloyd Ekweremadu’s affidavit are unfounded and unkind to the respondent,” it said.
The EFCC, which claimed to have been investigating Ekweremadu for money laundering before now, argued that no law requires it to initiate forfeiture proceedings or criminal charges against a suspect within a particular number of years or a time frame.
It added that “the filing of the instant forfeiture proceedings was a mere coincidence with the arrest of Senator Ike Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice N. Ekweremadu in the UK.
Lawyer to the EFCC, Sylvanus Tahir, SAN argued otherwise and prayed the court to reject the motion since the case was not directed at Ekweremadu, but at the property, to which some individuals and organisations were already laying claim.
Meanwhile, Justice Inyang Ekwo has adjourned till January 25 next year for the ruling.
[12/16, 1:38 AM] Head Office Of IT: EFCC responsible for my travails -Ekweremadu
The embattled former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, on Thursday, accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, of being responsible for his continued detention in the United Kingdom, UK.
In a fresh process filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja, Ekweremadu, who is currently facing trial in the UK over an allegation that he brought one David Ukpo into the country for the purpose of harvesting his organ, 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 Chief 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 subject of an ongoing investigation.
EFCC told the court that the landed properties, 10 of which are situated at 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 the seven days, publish it in a national daily to enable anyone that has 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 subject of an investigation that started since 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 are 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 ruling