EFCC Separates Tompolo From Charges

EFCC Separates Tompolo From ChargesThe EFCC has separated former Niger Delta Militant, Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo from a 40-count charge of alleged fraud and money laundering.

The anti-graft agency was forced to separate Tompolo from the charges it filed at the Federal High Court in Lagos after it declared that the former Niger Delta Militant was still on the run.

Tompolo was listed as the first accused person in the said charge which the EFCC filed in January before Justice Ibrahim Buba.

The former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Patrick Akpobolokemi and four other persons were also listed in the charge as co-accused persons.

The five were charged alongside four companies – Global West Vessel Specialist Limited, Odimiri Electrical Limited, Boloboere Property and Estate Limited and Destre Consult Limited.

However, efforts to arraign them had failed since January owing to the refusal of Tompolo to honour the court summons issued on him to appear in court.

At Tuesday’s proceedings, Tompolo was again absent in court as his lawyers, Mr Tayo Oyetibo and Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa were also absent.

The EFCC prosecutor, Mr Festus Keyamo, told the presiding judge that the charge against the accused persons had been amended with Tompolo’s name removed.

He said Tompolo would be arraigned and tried separately from the others as soon as he was apprehended by the security agencies.

With the permission of the court, the other accused persons took their plea on the 40 counts levelled against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The charges bordered on conspiracy, fraudulent conversion and laundering of various sums of money belonging to NIMASA.

They all pleaded not guilty.

Justice Buba later admitted them to bail before adjourning the commencement of their trial till May 23.

Meanwhile, the judge also adjourned till April 18, for the EFCC to arraign Mr Akpobolokemi and others on another 22-count charge.

Tompolo had also been listed as the first accused person in the charge, but his name was removed following his failure to show up to answer to the charges.

The EFCC said he would also be arranged separately on the 22 counts whenever he is produced before the court.

Earlier, Justice Buba had on January 14, issued a warrant for his arrest and the said warrant was renewed on February 8.

The EFCC had also declared Tompolo wanted through a newspaper advertorial and it had also obtained a court order to seize Tompolo’s assets pending when he would submit himself for trial.

Court Renews Order For Tompolo’s Arrest

TompoloA Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has renewed its order to all security agencies in Nigeria to compel the attendance in court of former Niger Delta militant, Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo.

Justice Ibrahim Buba reiterated the order, while ruling on an application challenging the substituted service of a 40-count criminal charge on the accused.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had filed the 40-count charge against Tompolo, Patrick Akpobolokemi and eight others.

The charge borders on allegations of conversion and theft to the tune of over N13 billion.

Counsel for Tompolo, Mr Tayo Oyetibo, had filed an application on January 27 to challenge the service of the charges on his client based on a defect in the address of service.

The lawyer argued that the charge was effected on ‘Agbanu St’, rather than ‘Agbamu St.’ in Warri, Delta State. He urged the court to hold that service of the charge was not properly effected on the first accused.

Counsel to the EFCC, Mr Festus Keyamo, however opposed this application.

Justice Ibrahim Buba in his ruling dismissed the application and renewed his order compelling the attendance of Tompolo in court.

The court held that “the EFCC has the power to arrest anyone if it has reasonable belief that such person has committed an offence”.

The court specifically noted that one of the submissions of the EFCC before a warrant of arrest was issued, was that despite several invitations, Tompolo failed to show up to answer to the allegations made against him.

“The order for substituted service is more than justified against a man who has refused to honour lawful invitation by the EFCC.

“Not only is Tompolo aware of the charges, he has further briefed counsel representing him, who on his behalf, demanded for all processes filed in the matter.

“Therefore, all the authorities cited on this issue are with respect, misconceived.

“The application challenging service is hereby dismissed.

“The order for arrest still subsist; and all authorities in Nigeria are further ordered to ensure that the order of this court for the arrest of Ekpemupolo also known as Tompolo is carried out to the latter,” the court held.

Tompolo’s lawyer said that he would await further briefing from his client.

Meanwhile, counsel to the former Director General of NIMASA said that the EFCC was treating his clients and the other accused persons unfairly.

The court has adjourned till February 19 when all the accused persons are expected to be arraigned.

Scam: Court Orders Tompolo To Appear On Thursday

TompoloThe Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has summoned former Niger Delta militant, Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo to appear before it.

Justice Ibrahim Buba asked Tompolo to appear before him on Thursday, January 14, to answer to a 40-count charge of unlawful conversion brought against him by the EFCC.

He also granted leave to EFCC to serve Tompolo the summons and the charges through substituted means by “affixing same on the conspicuous part of his last known address situated at 1, Chief Agbanu DDPA Extension Warri, Delta State”.

The judge issued the summons following an application filed by the EFCC through its lawyer, Rotimi Oyedipo, who alleged that they have not been able to serve Tompolo with a copy of the charge.

The commission also informed the court that Tompolo had so far, refused to honour several invitations extended to him for questioning.

Accused Persons

The anti-graft agency had in December 2015 filed a case against Tompolo, a former boss of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi and eight others for allegedly converting to personal use, the sums of $108.7 million and 2.1 billion Naira belonging to NIMASA.

Other accused persons were: Global West Vessel Specialist Limited, Odimiri Electricals Limited, Kime Engozu, Boloboere Property and Estate Ltd, Rex Elem, Destre Consult Ltd, Gregory Mbonu and Captain Warredi Enisuoh.

The suit was filed on behalf of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by its prosecutor, Festus Keyamo.

In 16 of the counts, the agency alleged that Ekpemupolo, Akpobolokemi, Global West Vessel Specialist Ltd, Odimiri Electrical Ltd, Boloboere Property Estate, Kime Engozu, and Simon John Adomene, who is currently at large, conspired among themselves between 2012 and 2014 to commit the offence, knowing that the two sums of money were proceeds of stealing.

In counts 17-38 of the criminal charges, Rex Elem, Gregory Mbonu, and Destre Consult Ltd were alleged to have converted the sum of 106.8 million Naira, the property of Global West Vessel Specialist Ltd, despite knowing that the sum was derived from official corruption.

In counts 39 and 40, the EFCC alleged that Captain Warredi Enisuoh converted the sum of eight million Naira, property of Global West Vessel Specialist, knowing that the money was derived from official corruption.

According to the EFCC, the offences alleged to have been committed by the accused persons were contrary to and punishable under the Money Laundering Act of 2012.

Akpolobokemi is currently facing two different charges of stealing and conversion of money running into billions of Naira before the same court.

Akpobolokemi and nine others were first arraigned before Justice Saliu Saidu on December 3, 2015 on a 30-count charge of conspiracy, criminal conversion and laundering the sum of 3.1 billion Naira.

The EFCC claimed that the accused persons allegedly conspired among themselves to convert and launder the sum under the guise of providing security intelligence around the maritime domain.

On December 4, 2015, the anti-graft agency also arraigned the form NIMASA DG and five others before Justice Buba on a 22-count charge of stealing the sum of 2.5 billion Naira.

Akpolobokemi and other accused persons have, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.