Prosecutor’s Absence Stalls Trial Of Former Militant Leader, Tompolo
The absence of the federal government prosecutor, Mr Festus Keyamo at the Federal High Court, Lagos on Thursday stalled the scheduled trial of former Niger Delta militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo.
Tompolo is facing a 22-count charge of alleged fraud of N47.6bn.
He was arraigned in absentia by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on April 18, 2016 alongside six brothers of a former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency, Patrick Akpobolokemi.
All seven of them were declared as being “at large” when the charges were read before Justice Ibrahim Buba.
But Akpobolokemi and three others who were also listed as defendants in the amended charge, were present in court to answer to the charges.
The charges border on conspiracy, advance fee fraud and money laundering. But the defendants who were in court pleaded not guilty to all of them.
At the proceedings on Thursday, the court said that the prosecutor, Mr Keyamo wrote to ask for an adjournment on the grounds that his main witness was not available.
The trial judge, Justice Ibrahim Buba, consequently adjourned the case till December 13 and 14, 2016 for trial.
One of the defence counsels, has however filed a preliminary objection to challenge the competence of the charges.
He asked the court to strike out the entire 22 counts filed by the EFCC against his client.
Another defence counsel also informed the court of his client’s pending bail application.
Justice Buba adjourned till November 10, 2016 to take the two pending applications.
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