The Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday gave the Special Presidential Investigation Panel the nod to serve through substituted means the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ikweremadu and Senator Albert Bassey Akpan with two-count charge for refusing to declare their assets.
The orders of the court followed the complaint of the Federal Government that Ekwerewadu and Akpan have been evading the service of the criminal charges on them.
Lawyer to the Federal Government, Mr Celsus Ukpong, in two separate ex-parte motions on Wednesday urged Justice Binta Nyako to permit the service of the two count criminal charge against Ekweremadu through substituted service on 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 assets 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 on him.
Justice Nyako, after listening to the lawyer’s argument on the alleged evasion of service of the charge, granted the Federla Government request and ordered that the charge be served on Ekweremadu through the Clerk of the National Assembly.
In the second ex-parte motion, argued before Justice John Tsoho, also of the Federal High Court in Abuja, Ukpong had complained bitterly that Senator Bassey Akpan, also charged with failure to declare his assets, allegedly refused to be served.
The lawyer prayed Justice Tsoho for an order to 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 of allegations of false assets declaration against him.
But Justice Tsoho in his ruling on the ex-parte motion, permitted the federal government to serve the criminal charge on Akpan via the Clerk of the National Assembly.
Justice Tsoho, however, refused to grant order for temporary forfeiture to government the two houses in Abuja traced to the Akpan.
While Justice Nyako adjourned the matter of Ekwremadu to October 22, Justice Tsoho adjourned that of Senator Akpan to November 19.