By Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Federal High Court, Abuja Wednesday granted the federal government leave to serve criminal charges on two senators — Ike EKweremadu and Bassey Akpan — through the clerk of the National Assembly.
The orders of the court followed the complaint of the federal government that Ekwerewadu, current Deputy Senate President, and Akpan have been evading the service of the criminal charges on them.
The counsel to the federal government, Selsus Ukpong, in two separate exparte motions Wednesday prayed Justice Binta Nyako to permit the service of the two-count criminal charge against Ekweremadu through substituted service, the Clerk of the National Assembly.
He claimed that the deputy Senate president had allegedly thwarted all efforts to serve him with the charge to formally kick-start his trial on refusal to declare his asset before the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the recovery of public property.
The two-count charge against Ekweremadu was filed last month but had not been served.
Justice Nyako, after listening to the counsel’s argument on the alleged evasion of service of the charge granted the federal government request and ordered that the charge be served on Ekweremadu through the Clerk of the National Assembly.
In the second exparte motion argued before Justice John Tsoho also of the Federal High Court, Abuja, Ukpong had complained bitterly that Senator Akpan also charged with failure to declare his asset allegedly refused to be served.
The counsel prayed Justice Tsoho for an order permitting the two-count criminal charge to be served on Akpan, who represents Akwa Ibom North East Senatorial District in the National Assembly.
Ukpong also prayed the court for an order permitting the federal government to temporarily take over two buildings traced to Senator Akpan pending the investigation on allegations of false asset declaration against him.
However, Justice Tsoho in his ruling on the exparte motion, permitted government to serve the criminal charge on Akpan via the clerk of the National Assembly.
Justice Tsoho however refused to grant the order for temporary forfeiture to government the two houses in Abuja traced to the senator.
While Justice Nyako adjourned the matter of Ekwremadu to October 22, Justice Tsoho adjourned that of Senator Akpan to November 19, both for mention.