A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on yesterday issued a fresh order for the arrest of Government Ekpemupolo, a.k.a Tompolo.
Justice Ibrahim Buba issued the arrest warrant at the resumption of the case involving Tompolo and a former director general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Mr. Patrick Akpobolokemi and eight others, who are billed for arraignment for alleged conspiracy and diversion of over N34,000,000,000, belonging to NIMASA. The new warrant of arrest replaced an earlier one issued on 14 January, 2016.
At the resumption of the matter yesterday, counsel to Tompolo, Tayo Oyetibo, SAN, brought before the court an application praying the court to set aside an earlier order of arrest on Tompolo. However, prosecuting counsel, Festus Keyamo filed a counter affidavit in respect of the application but later withdrew it. He, however, objected to the application orally.
He argued by quoting section 221 of Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015, that Oyetibo’s application should not be heard since the plea of the accused person had not been taken. In spite of this objection, Justice Buba allowed the defence counsel to move his application.
In the application, Oyetibo prayed the court to set aside the arrest order on his client, arguing that the address on which the substituted service was pasted does not belong to Tompolo. He said, by this error, the prosecution violated the order of the court. He also tried to convince the court that since his client was addressed as a plaintiff, the matter before the court could only be a civil one
After listening to the submissions of Oyetibo, Justice Buba dismissed his application and all the prayers therein. He ordered all the security organisations in the country to ensure the apprehension and production of Tompolo before the court to answer the charges preferred against him by the EFCC. He also ruled that EFCC can arrest anybody that is alleged to have committed an offense without a court order.
Before the court adjourned, Keyamo informed the court that the EFCC has another charge involving Tompolo and the former NIMASA boss, where a fresh twenty- two count charge had been filed against them for conspiracy and money laundering to the tune of N35billion. Justice Buba fixed 25 February, 2016 both for the appearance of Tompolo in court and the fresh arraignment.