Owing to pressure over the continued detention of the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is set to arraign him soon.
A source from the commission informed The Guardian yesterday that the EFCC is currently working on arraigning the lawyer-politician, who has since admitted to receiving N400 million in the raging corruption probe.
The EFCC says it will today, at the Federal High Court in Lagos arraign former Niger Delta militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, also known as Tompolo and former Director General of Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi.
According to the spokesman of the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, the two, alongside, Kime Engozu, Rex Elem, Gregory Mbonu and Captain Warredi Enisuoh and four companies- Global West Vessel Specialist Limited, Odimiri Electricals Limited, Boloboere Property and Estate Limited, Destre Consult Limited- are to be arraigned on a 40-count charge of alleged money laundering, conspiracy, stealing and diversion of funds.
“The suspects allegedly diverted the sum of N34 billion which accrued from the Public Private Partnership agreement between NIMASA and Global West Vessel Specialist Limited for personal use,” Uwujaren said, adding that the commission had secured an order of the Federal High Court to serve the summons and charge on Tompolo by substituted means as “the suspect has continuously evaded service.”
In a related development, as the arrest of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Director General, Emeka Mba enters the second day, the EFCC said yesterday that it arraigned a former local government chairman in Adamawa State, Felix Tangwami, before Justice Helen Nuhu Hamman Joda of Adamawa State High Court, sitting in Yola on a five-count charge bordering on obtaining by false pretense to the tune of N981 million in alleged contract scams.
A statement from Uwujaren revealed that Tangwami, in his capacity as the council boss, awarded contracts to companies where he has interests and failed to deliver on the contract terms.
But in another development and in a bid to clear the name of the nation’s royal fathers, from allegedly benefitting from the $2.1billion arms deal scam, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi yesterday distanced himself from the Traditional Council of Nigeria (TCN) allegedly fingered as a beneficiary just as he described the council as an ‘illegal body’.
On Metuh, the EFCC source said the anti-graft agency was considering arraigning Metuh very soon, especially with the pressure currently being mounted by his lawyer, by PDP legislators and others on the matter.
“We don’t do that. And we have very good facilities housing our suspects. We don’t put them under conditions that may warrant them to feel choked and provoked to behave in such a shocking manner. They eat three times daily and for those who want to eat home cooked meals, their family members are allowed to bring food to them,” he said.
The order by Justice Ibrahim Buba on Tompolo allows the EFCC to serve the defendant through substituted means by affixing the summons and charge on a conspicuous part of his known address situated at No. 1, Chief Agbanu Street, DDPA Extension Warri, Delta State.
Tompolo last year failed to honour the invitation by EFCC twice despite the commission’s threat to declare him wanted. He was summoned for questioning over a N13 billion fraud allegedly paid to Tompolo by NIMASA under the tenure of Akpobolokemi. The NIMASA ex-DG himself has a N35.1 billion case to answer in a case being prosecuted by the EFCC.
The former Adamawa council boss, on his part, is being prosecuted on contracts for supply of cerebrospinal meningitis vaccines awarded in favour of Binam Integrated Services Ltd; supply of VVF Oral Vaccines for Immunization against typhoid in favour of Nchaloro Nigeria Ltd; supply of 500 units of motorcycles to be distributed to all the local councils in Adamawa State in favor of Bange Integrated service Ltd; building of a school for technical skill acquisition in Numan in favor of Bange Company Ltd; and the supply of anti-snake venom in favor of Tafari Nigeria Ltd.
Oba Adeyemi while faulting the existence of the council said he vehemently opposed it when the idea was mooted some years ago because of the illegality of such an organisation and potential acrimony it could breed among traditional rulers in the country.
According to him, there cannot be a centralised traditional council of Nigeria because such a development opposes the federal constitution since it is purely a state matter .
“We are not part of it,” he said.
While applauding President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts in the fight against corruption, the Alaafin said the revelations so far left much to be desired, stressing that “people in authority should know their limitations too and do everything in accordance with the dictates of the constitution in order not to be seen as vindictive.”