London court denies Ekweremadu bail again

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Embattled former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, has again been denied bail by the Central Criminal Court, London, also known as Old Bailey.

In the pre-trial hearing on Tuesday, the court gave its verdict denying the bail on the grounds that he was a flight risk.

The court in its decision cited the letter and assets forfeiture proceedings against the senator by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

At the hearing of the bail application, Ekweremadu’s lawyer had argued that the Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and the Attorney-General of the Federal had written to the court that Ekweremadu was not a flight risk.

The lawyer also argued that a guarantee to produce him should he pose a flight risk was given and that the Nigeria High Commission in the UK had equally given the option of tagging Ekweremadu electronically to monitor his movement.

Referring to attestation of Ekweremadu’s character by respected Nigerians and organizations, his lawyer also argued that the lawmaker had proven to be a caring and responsible father and could not escape from London, abandoning his wife and sick daughter. His lawyer also mentioned that Ekweremadu had sureties and securities of nearly half a million pounds sterling from 11 people to secure his release on bail.

However, the prosecution insisted that Ekweremadu was a flight risk as he is a holder of international passports from two other countries and could escape to any of the other countries asides from Nigeria.

The prosecution also cited the 18th July 2022 letter by the EFCC signed on behalf of the Executive Chairman, Abdulraheed Bawa, by the Assistant Director Operations, Abdulkarim Chukkoi, and referred to the assets forfeiture proceedings against Ekweremadu in the Federal High Court, Abuja.

Refusing the bail application, 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.”

The trial of the Ekweremadus will now begin on 31st January 2023.