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EFCC Detains Ekweremadu Over 22 Properties

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  • EFCC Detains Ekweremadu Over 22 Properties

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has detained Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, for alleged fraud and failing to explain how he came to own 22 properties in Nigeria, the United States, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates.

It was learnt that Ekweremadu honoured the invitation of the EFCC around 9 am on Tuesday but was still in custody as of 9 pm.

A top source at the EFCC told our correspondent that the lawmaker had many questions to answer.

“He came in around 9 am and he is still in our custody. He will be released once we have enough information,” the source said.

When contacted around 9 pm, the Spokesman for the EFCC, Mr Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed that Ekweremadu honoured the commission’s invitation on Tuesday. He, however, could not say if the senator was still in custody as of the time of filing this report by 9.30pm.

It was learnt that the Deputy Senate President was under investigation for allegedly owning about 22 properties some of which he failed to declare in his Asset Declaration Form at the Code of Conduct Bureau.

The Federal Government had in March sought an interim order of the Federal High Court, Abuja, to temporarily seize 22 prime properties/assets of Ekweremadu located in London, Dubai, Florida, and Abuja, that were not declared before the CCB.

The motion ex-parte filed by Festus Keyamo (SAN) on behalf of the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property was brought before the court pursuant to Section 330 of The Administration Of Criminal Justice Act, 2015; Section 8 Of The Recovery Of Public Property (Special Provisions) Act and Section 44 (2)(K) of the 1999 Constitution.

In an affidavit deposed to in support of the motion ex-parte by Yohanna Shankuk, a litigation clerk in Festus Keyamo Chambers, he stated that from 1999 till date, Ekweremadu had been a public officer and had not earned anything outside his salaries and allowances as a public officer.

He, therefore, wondered where the lawmaker got the money to acquire such properties.

The undeclared assets were identified as: 11 Evans Enwerem Street, Apo Legislative Quarters, Apo, Abuja; Plot 2633 Kyami, Abuja; Housing Estate; Plot 1106 CRD, Cadastral Zone 07-07, Lugbe, Abuja; Plot 2782, Asokoro Extension, Abuja; houses at Citi Park Estate, Gwagwalada, Abuja and Plot 1474, Cadastral Zone BD6, Mabushi, Abuja.

Other properties allegedly undeclared by the senator include Congress Court, Abuja; Flat 1, Block D25, Athletics Street, (24th Street), Games Village, Abuja; and Plot 66, 64 Crescent, Gwarimpa Estate, Abuja.

Properties allegedly owned by Ekweremadu abroad include: Flat 4, Varsity Court, Harmer Street, WIH 4NW, London; 52, Ayleston Avenue, NW6 7AB, London; Room 1903, The Address Hotel, Downtown Dubai; The Address Boulevard, 3901, Dubai; two Flats of Burij Side Boulevard (the signature), Dubai and Emirate Gardens Apartment No. EGG1/1/114, Dubai.

Others are Emirate Gardens Apartment No. EGG1/115, Dubai; apartment DFB/12/B 1204, Park Towers, Dubai; Flat 3604, MAG214, Dubai; Villa No 148, Maeen 1, The Lakes Emirates Hills, Dubai; 4507 Stella Street, Bellavida Estate Kissime, Florida, United States; 2747 Club Cortile Circle, Kissime, Florida, US and 2763 Club Cortile Circle, Kissime, Florida, US.

However, the Peoples Democratic Party had decried the alleged harassment of Ekweremadu, opposition leaders, and voices of dissent, by the Federal Government.

The party accused the government of misusing the anti-graft and security agencies close to the 2019 general elections, stressing that such posed a grave threat to the nation’s democracy.

Reacting to what it described as Senator Ekweremadu’s witch-hunt by the EFCC on Tuesday, the party called on the international community to rein in the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration before it became too late.

In a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbodiyan, in Abuja on Tuesday, the party said, “Just a few days after the EFCC and over 200 policemen practically held Senator Ekweremadu hostage to prevent the defection of the All Progressives Congress senators to the PDP, the EFCC has continued to harass Senator Ike Ekweremadu to cover its shame.

“We wish to remind Nigerians and the international community that this is only the newest in the series of attempts to destroy the senator politically in the run-up to the 2019 general elections.

“It is of grave concern to us that while corruption and corrupt persons abound in the APC, the EFCC prefers to chase after innocent members of the opposition.

“While the likes of Babachir Lawal, Abba Kyari, Ayo Oke, Kemi Adeosun, Abdulrasheed Maina and his accomplices, Okoi Obono-Obla, and scores of others in the ruling APC, with corruption and fraud-related charges, walk free, the anti-graft agencies have continued in its reckless desperation to harass and dent leaders of the opposition in the name of an anti-corruption war that Nigerians and the world have come to see for what it is- persecution of the opposition.

“We warn the Buhari-led administration to desist from this act of highhandedness and witch-hunt of the opposition so as not to torpedo our democracy.

“The panicky APC government cannot be allowed to destroy opposition leaders just a few months to the general elections in the name of fighting corruption.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Government

COVID-19 Vaccine: African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) to Purchase 270 Million Doses for Nigeria, Other African Nations

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African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) Approves $2 Billion for the Purchase of 270 million Doses for African Nations

African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) said it has approved $2 billion for the purchase of 270 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for African nations, including Nigeria.

Prof. Benedict Oramah, the President of the Bank, disclosed this at a virtual Africa Soft Power Series held on Tuesday.

He, however, stated that the lender is looking to raise more funds for the COVID-19 vaccines’ acquisition.

He said: “The African Union knows that unless you put the virus away, your economy can’t come back. If Africa didn’t do anything, it would become a COVID-19 continent when other parts of the world have already moved on.
“Recall that it took seven years during the heat of HIV for them to come to Africa after 12 million people had died.

“With the assistance of the AU, we were able to get 270 million vaccines and financing need of about $2 billion. Afreximbank then went ahead to secure the $2 billion. But that money for the 270 million doses could only add 15 per cent to the 20 per cent that Covax was bringing.

He added that this is not the time to wait for handouts or free vaccines as other countries will naturally sort themselves out before African nations.

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China Calls for Better China-U.S. Relations

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China Calls for China-U.S. Relations

Senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi said on Monday the United States and China could work together on issues like climate change and the coronavirus pandemic if they repaired their damaged bilateral relationship.

Wang, a Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, said Beijing stood ready to reopen constructive dialogue with Washington after relations between the two countries sank to their lowest in decades under former president Donald Trump.

Wang called on Washington to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and abandon what he said was an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector, steps he said would create the “necessary conditions” for cooperation.

Before Wang spoke at a forum sponsored by the foreign ministry, officials played footage of the “ping-pong diplomacy” of 1972 when an exchange of table tennis players cleared the way for then U.S. President Richard Nixon to visit China.

Wang, a Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, said Beijing stood ready to reopen constructive dialogue with Washington after relations between the two countries sank to their lowest in decades under former president Donald Trump.

Wang called on Washington to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and abandon what he said was an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector, steps he said would create the “necessary conditions” for cooperation.

Before Wang spoke at a forum sponsored by the foreign ministry, officials played footage of the “ping-pong diplomacy” of 1972 when an exchange of table tennis players cleared the way for then U.S. President Richard Nixon to visit China.

Wang urged Washington to respect China’s core interests, stop “smearing” the ruling Communist Party, stop interfering in Beijing’s internal affairs and stop “conniving” with separatist forces for Taiwan’s independence.

“Over the past few years, the United States basically cut off bilateral dialogue at all levels,” Wang said in prepared remarks translated into English.

“We stand ready to have candid communication with the U.S. side, and engage in dialogues aimed at solving problems.”

Wang pointed to a recent call between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden as a positive step.

Washington and Beijing have clashed on multiple fronts including trade, accusations of human rights crimes against the Uighur Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region and Beijing’s territorial claims in the resources-rich South China Sea.

The Biden administration has, however, signalled it will maintain pressure on Beijing. Biden has voiced concern about Beijing’s “coercive and unfair” trade practices and endorsed of a Trump administration determination that China has committed genocide in Xinjiang.

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U.S. Supreme Court Allows Release of Trump Tax Returns

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President Trump Signs Executive Order In Oval Office Of The White House

U.S. Supreme Court Allows Release of Trump Tax Returns

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday paved the way for a New York City prosecutor to obtain former President Donald Trump’s tax returns and other financial records as part of a criminal investigation, a blow to his quest to conceal details of his finances.

The justices without comment rebuffed Trump’s request to put on hold an Oct. 7 lower court ruling directing the former Republican president’s longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA, to comply with a subpoena to turn over the materials to a grand jury convened by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, a Democrat.

“The work continues,” Vance said in a statement issued after the court’s action.

Vance had previously said in a letter to Trump’s lawyers that his office would be free to immediately enforce the subpoena if the justices rejected Trump’s request.

A lawyer for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Supreme Court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority included three Trump appointees, had already ruled once in the dispute, last July rejecting Trump’s broad argument that he was immune from criminal probes as a sitting president.

Unlike all other recent U.S. presidents, Trump refused during his four years in office to make his tax returns public. The data could provide details on his wealth and the activities of his family real-estate company, the Trump Organization.

Trump, who left office on Jan. 20 after being defeated in his Nov. 3 re-election bid by Democrat Joe Biden, continues to face an array of legal issues concerning his personal and business conduct.

Vance issued a subpoena to Mazars in August 2019 seeking Trump’s corporate and personal tax returns from 2011 to 2018. Trump’s lawyers sued to block the subpoena, arguing that as a sitting president, Trump had absolute immunity from state criminal investigations.

The Supreme Court in its July ruling rejected those arguments but said Trump could raise other objections to the subpoena. Trump’s lawyers then argued before lower courts that the subpoena was overly broad and amounted to political harassment, but U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in August and the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in October rejected those claims.

Vance’s investigation, which began more than two years ago, had focused on hush money payments that the president’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen made before the 2016 election to two women – adult-film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal – who said they had sexual encounters with Trump.

In recent court filings, Vance has suggested that the probe is now broader and could focus on potential bank, tax and insurance fraud, as well as falsification of business records.

In separate litigation, the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives was seeking to subpoena similar records. The Supreme Court in July sent that matter back to lower courts for further review.

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