Economic Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) letters and asset forfeiture investigations were the impediments for the bail application of Ike Ekweremadu by the Central Criminal Court, London, it has been gathered.
The court which met on Tuesday gave its verdict in a pre-trial hearing also cited flight risk as another reason for denying Ekweremadu bail.
According to the Daily Post in the bail application, Ekweremadu’s attorneys had argued that the Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and the Attorney-General of the Federal had written the court that Ekweremadu was not a flight risk and gave a guarantee to produce him should he do otherwise.
However, just as during the July 2022 bail application hearing, the prosecution insisted that Ekweremadu was a flight risk, the July 18th 2022 letter by the EFCC signed on behalf of the Executive Chairman, Abdulraheed Bawa by the Assistant Director Operations, Abdulkarim Chukkoi.
Prosecution equally cited the ongoing assets forfeiture proceedings against the former three-term Deputy Senate President in the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Although the EFCC had investigated Ekweremadu for many years without charging the lawmaker to court, the anti-graft agency had upon his arrest and a July 17, 2022 enquiry by the London Metropolitan Police, indicted Ekweremadu and vowed to immediately institute assets forfeiture proceedings and criminal processes against him while in custody in London.
The prosecution equally argued that as a holder of the international passports of two other countries, the lawmaker could also escape to any of the other countries other than Nigeria.
Having heard from both sides, the Judge said “I am entirely satisfied there remains a flight risk,” noting that bail would not make much difference “as the trial is just over a month away.”
Consequently, he said his ruling was, “this bail application is refused.”
The trial of the Ekweremadus will now begin from January 31, 2023.