The camp of Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu has been thrown into panic, following a directive by the presidency to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the petition written against the Senator by prominent Enugu lawyer, Chief G. Tagbo Ike Esq.
Bellng.com reliably gathered that Acting President, Yemi Osibanjo after reading a copy of the petition, which was copied to his boss, President Muhammadu Buhari, immediately directed EFCC to investigate the weighty allegations in the petition and report back to him within 14 days.
In the petition dated January 20, 2017 and duly acknowledged by EFCC on February 6, 2017, Chief Tagbo Ike demanded for the investigation of Senator Ike Ekweremadu as his life-style and properties are not justified by his income.
To buttress his allegation, the senior lawyer listed 34 properties allegedly belonging to Ekweremadu in four continents (Africa, Europe, Asia and North America) and funds he had stashed in two Nigerian banks.
Jittery over the petition, the Deputy Senate President’s camp at the weekend organized several peace parleys with a view to mending fences with the former Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice Innocent Umezulike who the senator earlier accused of masterminding Chief Tagbo Ike’s petition.
Inside sources told our reporter that the last meeting hosted by Chief Dickson Egu, the owner of Nugget Hotel Independence Layout lasted all through Saturday and yet the parties could not find a common ground, in spite of appeals by Chief Anayo Onwuegbu and others, urging them to mend fences.
It was gathered that during the meeting, Ekweremadu told Justice Umezulike to order Chief Tagbo Ike to withdraw his petition to EFCC and the former Chief Judge assured that he would do so if Ekweremadu withdraws the petition he wrote against him and Chief Ike to the Port Harcourt office of EFCC.
Ekweremadu distanced himself from the petition against the former Chief Judge and Ike, saying he would not repudiate an allegation he did not see, although, the said petition was bearing his letterhead.
Following the inability of the meeting to find a common ground, both parties were asked to nominate two persons each for further talks on Sunday.
Our sources disclosed that the Ekweremadu camp nominated two serving members of the House of Representatives, Hon. Dennis Amadi and Hon. Toby Okechukwu while the camp of the former Chief Judge nominated Chief Richard Ozobu and Dr. Eric Oluedo, a former Commissioner in Enugu State.
It could however not be ascertained if the meeting would continue in the same venue or if it would shift to another venue.
When contacted by our reporter, Chief Ike said he was aware of the meetings, but did not attend any of them.
Ike also said he was aware of the petitions written against him and Justice Umezulike by Ekweremadu to EFCC, alleging that he (Ike) offered a bribe of N250, 000 to the former Chief Judge.
“The Chief Judge launched a book. Arthur Eze was the Chief launcher. They said because Arthur Eze had a case with the Chief Judge, he ought not to have participated. They said it was bribe.
“My reaction to it is this. It is as fallacious as it is incomprehensible. Anybody that wants to give a bribe to a judicial officer will not take it to a book launch and mount a podium to offer the bribe to him. The books were put up for sale at the launch. I bought 25 copies for N10, 000 each. Their allegation is incompetent and untenable.
“The sponsors of those petitions are Peter Eze and Ike Ekweremadu. Peter Eze himself has been arraigned at the Chief Magistrate Court Enugu for forging the will of late Architect A.P.C Iloabachie and forgey of land documents made by Chief R. O. Nkwocha. Those are weighty crimes, which their punishment goes up to life imprisonment. The matter is still pending in Court.
“On the part of Ike Ekweremadu, I have launched weighty allegations against him, bothering on money laundering and wallowing in lifestyle unjustified by his lawful earnings and living with proceeds of illegal activities. Look at the billions he kept at Sterling Bank and Access Bank” Ike said.
Efforts by our reporter to speak with Ekweremadu’s Chief Press Secretary, Uche Anichukwu, last night, yielded no fruits.
Anichukwu earlier said in a statement that the Office of the Deputy President of the Senate has reportedly uncovered a plot by an Enugu-based lawyer, Mr. Tagbo Ike, in consort with some political forces around a judicial officer recently sanctioned by the National Judicial Council (NJC), to malign the person of Senator Ike Ekweremadu.
According to him, “the media campaign of calumny by these conspirators and character assassins to run down the person of the Deputy President of the Senate includes the circulation of a frivolous petition to the Federal Government and its agencies.
“Mr. Tagbo, we have been reliably informed, alleged in a rather show of ignorance and mischief, that the funds meant for the development of the South-east was hijacked by the Deputy President of the Senate as the political leader of the region and used to purchase 32 properties.
“Nothing can be farther from the truth. Their only goal is to run down the person of Senator Ekweremadu. This is to alert the media and members of the public to the endless machinations of the unpatriotic elements who are bent on getting even with a wrong target.
“The Office, therefore, calls on the media, in particular, to be conscious of this orchestrated campaign directed at the person of the Deputy President of the Senate and treat it as mischief that it is”, the statement added.