Useni?s assets were confiscated wrongly-Lawyer Odjemu


Retired Lt.-Gen. Jeremiah Useni

A former FCT minister, retired Lt.-Gen. Jeremiah Useni, on Wednesday in Abuja asked the Code of Conduct Tribunal to compel the Federal Government to release the title documents of his properties that were confiscated in 1999.

It will be recalled that five of Useni?s assets were confiscated by the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and the National Security Adviser between Oct. 4 and Dec. 14, 1999.

Useni?s counsel, Mr Victor Odjemu, in a motion on notice, prayed the tribunal to order the Federal Government to release the documents to the tribunal, pending the determination of the case.

The former minister said it was only the tribunal that could order seizure and forfeiture of the assets of a public officer, confirmed to have breached provisions of its relevant laws.

Useni said the documents were confiscated by the government without first obtaining an order of the tribunal or any other court, and without employing any due process of law.

“It was only after the said confiscation that the Federal Government, through the Attorney-General of the Federation, filed charges against my client.

“The interest of justice would be best served and the complainant would not be prejudiced by the granting of this application,?? Odjemu said.

He said the tribunal was the only court competent to handle the matter, and urged it to guard its jurisdiction and use it accordingly.

Mr Simon Egede, acting Director, Public Prosecution, Federal Ministry of Justice, filed a motion of preliminary objection to Odjemu?s motion.

Egede urged the tribunal to dismiss the motion, adding that the tribunal was not competent to entertain the matter.

According to him, it is only a high court that has the exclusive jurisdiction to handle such case.

The chairman of the tribunal, Justice Danladi Umar, adjourned the case to June 25 for further hearing.

Enakeno is a journalist and television producer

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