A Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday assented to a request by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to seize all but one of the assets belonging to the former General Officer Commanding, GOC, of the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta, MEND, Chief Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo.
The presiding judge, Justice Ibrahim Buba gave this order after Tompolo again failed to appear in court to honour a summon on an alleged fraudulent land contract for the construction of the Nigerian Maritime University.
It would be recalled that the anti-graft agency had on Wednesday filed a motion before the court, seeking to freeze Tompolo’s assets. This was after the commission declared him wanted in a newspaper advertorial, following two bench warrants issued against him by the court.
The EFCC is accusing Tompolo and nine others of diverting and converting N46bn belonging to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA. But Tompolo has denied the allegation, accusing the Federal Government of coming after him because he refused to join the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
On Friday, counsel to the EFCC, Mr. Festus Keyamo told the court that the efforts by all security agencies to arrest Tompolo had yielded no result, as they were yet to get hold of the first accused person.
His words, “The accused person Tompolo failed to appear again and we brought and application for the seizure of all his properties as provided for by law.
“If an accused person continues to abscond from court and conceals himself from court after a warrant of arrest has been issued, he should be auctioned by the federal government. That’s what we have done and the court granted our prayers to seize his properties.
“We are going to separate the charge; we are going to keep his own until we get him or until we have auctioned his properties. We are just going to separate them so that he will stand alone from the other accused persons, because he is delaying the trial of the other accused persons.”
The presiding judge consequently granted the application for the EFCC to “seize all the properties belonging to Tompolo except all properties of Global WestVessel Specialist Ltd”.