The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, yesterday removed former Niger Delta militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo’s (also known as Tompolo) name from the criminal suit it filed before a Federal High Court in Lagos for alleged N45.9bn fraud because of the frustration of the security agencies to arrest him.
Tompolo was listed as one of the accused persons along with a former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Patrick Akpobolokemi, Kime Engozu, Rex Elem, Gregory Mbonu and Capt. Warredi Enisuoh. The five were charged alongside four companies – Global West Vessel Specialist Limited, Odimiri Electrical Limited, Boloboere Property and Estate Limited and Destre Consult Limited before Justice Ibrahim Buba.
But efforts to arraign them failed several months after the charge was filed following the refusal of Tompolo to honour the court summons to appear in court. The EFCC had earlier obtained the permission of the court to split Tompolo’s trial from that of his co-accused persons, so the trial would commence. When the matter came up yesterday, Tompolo was still not present in court and his two lawyers, Messrs Tayo Oyetibo (SAN) and Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, were also absent. The EFCC prosecutor, Mr. Festus Keyamo, told the judge that the charge had been amended with Tompolo’s name removed. He said Tompolo, who he said was on the run, would now be arraigned and tried separately from the others. Keyamo said he had served the amended charge sheet on the other nine accused persons and urged the court to take their plea. The 40 counts levelled against them by EFCC bordered on conspiracy, theft and fraudulent conversion of various sums belonging to NIMASA to their private pockets. The EFCC said the accused acted contrary to Section 18 (a) of the Money.