The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has granted an order for the seizure of some properties belonging to former Niger Delta militant, Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo.
Justice Ibrahim Buba granted the order after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) told the court that the whereabouts of Tompolo is unknown.
According to the EFCC, a combined team of Nigerian Police and military officers had been combing the creeks for weeks without success.
Justice Ibrahim Buba had issued a warrant for the arrest of Tompolo on February 8, 2016 after he shunned repeated invitations to appear before the EFCC for questioning.
Last week, the Commission declared the ex-militant wanted.
Tompolo, Patrick Akpobolokemi, the former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), and eight others are accused of a multibillion Naira fraud at the agency.
At the court sitting on Friday, no lawyer announced appearance for Mr Ekpemupolo, a situation the prosecution noted was disrespectful to the court.
With Tompolo still at large, Mr Keyamo then moved a motion for an adjournment to enable the prosecution separate the charges to enable the trial of the other accused persons go on.
The prosecution counsel also filed an application urging the court to order the seizure of all identified properties belonging to Ekpemupolo.
The assets listed include property at No. 1 Chief Agbamu Close DDPA Extension Warri (Effurun), Delta State, All property of Muhaabix Global Services Ltd; a River Crew Change Boat named MUHA – 15; the property known as “Tompolo Dockyard”, by the end of Enerhen Road, Effurun, Warri.
Others are; a property known as “Tompolo Yard”, at the end of Chevron Clinic Road, next to Next Oil, Edjeba, Warri; the Diving School at Kurutie, at Escravos River; the property known as “Tompolo House” at Oporaza Town, opposite the Palace; and any other property discovered by the EFCC, movable and immovable, belonging to the first accused person.
“This application is to further secure the attendance of the first accused person. The law says that the court can order the confiscation of his properties until he appears,” Mr Keyamo said.
“Any third party can bring an application later, but we have intelligence reports that those properties and companies belong to the first accused person.
“If he fails to appear within three months, the federal government will auction off all the assets,” he added.
In his ruling, the judge granted the order for the seizure of all the listed properties and adjourned till March 22, 2016 for the separation of charges on the defendants.