Friday 16 December 2016

Court dismisses Tompolo’s application to unfreeze account

Ex-Niger Delta Militants leader, Government Ekpemupolo, also known as Tompolo has lost a fundamental rights enforcement application he filed at a Federal High Court sitting in Warri, Delta State, challenging the freezing of his account and threats of arrest by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

The preliminary objection by the EFCC was upheld by Justice E. A. Obile as the judge struck out the matter on the grounds that it could not sit on appeal over an order made by a Lagos State High Court, and could not also restrain the EFCC from inviting or prosecuting the applicants.

The anti-graft agency had earlier this year, frozen a bank account allegedly belonging to the ex-MEND fighter due to his refusal to appear in court.

It was gathered that the EFCC discovered about N3bn in the account and had frozen it pending the outcome of court processes.

A detective at the anti-graft agency who would not want to be mentioned told the Punch that, “During investigations into the fraud at NIMASA [Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency], we traced about N3bn to a bank account which is owned by Tompolo.

“The account has since been frozen in accordance with Section 34 (1) of the EFCC Act 2004 which empowers the commission to freeze any account suspected of being used for financial crimes.”

Tompolo, who has been on the run since February, was arraigned in absentia alongside a former Director-General of NIMASA, Patrick Akpobolokemi, and the latter’s six brothers on April 18, 2016 over an alleged N47.7bn fraud.

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