Friday, October 28

Tompolo makes Moves to Quash Corruption Charges

Tompolo makes moves to quash corruption charges

Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo associates seek to quash N47.6b fraud charge.

–  Some associates of the Niger Delta militant, Chief Government Ekpemupolo (alias Tompolo), has asked Federal High Court in Lagos to quash a N47.8 billion fraud charge against them

– He was charged with a former Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA’s) director general, Patrick Akpobolokemi

– The trial was stalled due to the absence of prosecution counsel, Mr Festus Keyamo who informed the court that the principal witness was not available

The Nation reports that some associates of the Niger Delta militant, Chief Government Ekpemupolo (alias Tompolo), has asked Federal High Court in Lagos to quash a N47.8 billion fraud charge brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

On April 18, Tompolo and others were arraigned on 22 counts of conspiracy, stealing, advance fee fraud and money laundering.

He was charged with a former Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA’s) director general, Patrick Akpobolokemi, who pleaded not guilty.

Others include Kime Engozu, Josephine Otuaga, Rita Uruakpa, Mieka Dive Training Institute Ltd/GTE, Oyeinteke Global Network Limited, Wabod Global Resources Ltd, Boloboere Properties Estate Ltd, Gokaid Marine Oil and Gas Ltd, Muhaabix Global Services Ltd and Watershed Associated Resources.

Akpobolokemi’s four brothers include Victor, Nobert, Emmanuel and Clement, said to be at large were also named in the charge, claiming they might have allegedly helped the suspects commit the fraud.

However, the trial was stalled due to the absence of prosecution counsel, Mr Festus Keyamo who informed the court that the principal witness was not available.

Mr Oyesoji Oyeleke (SAN), One of the defence counsel argued that since the prosecution failed to depose to an affidavit stating that it had concluded its investigation, the court should strike out the charge.

Another defence counsel, Mr. Sylvester Ekweme, representing one of Akpobolokemi’s brothers, Clement, said his client had been in detention since April, adding that his bail application was still pending.

EFCC alleged that the defendants conspired among themselves to defraud the federal government of the sum between December 2, 2014 and last April 10.

The EFCC claimed that the accused persons “falsely pretend to the federal government that a parcel of land and its appurtenances situated at Mieka Dive Training Institute, Kurutie, Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State had been acquired by NIMASA for the temporary campus of the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko.”

The defendants were also accused of swindling the Federal Government to the tune of N11.940 billion, by presenting a forged Certificate of Customary Right of Occupancy of Bendel State of Nigeria dated May 6, 2014 to NIMASA on the false claim that the forged document was genuine and issued by Warri South-West Local Council, Delta State.

Justice Ibrahim Buba adjourned the first case till November 10 for hearing of pending applications and fixed trial for December 13 and 14.

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