Alleged N34bn fraud: Hands off my case, Tompolo tells judge

By Chris Iwarah

CHIEF Government Ekpemupolo (alias Tompolo) has prayed the Appeal Court to transfer his case from Justice Ibrahim Buba to another judge of the Federal High Court.
Tompolo based his request on the allega­tion that the lower court erred in law in refusing to set aside the warrant of arrest issued against him when there was no evidence establishing that he was served with the summons and the criminal charge before the court.
Justice Buba ordered the appellant’s arrest on January 14 following his failure to appear in court for trial for alleg­edly colluding with for­mer director general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMA­SA), Mr. Patrick Akpo­bolokemi and others to defraud the agency of N34 billion.
Tompolo, however, filed an application ask­ing the trial judge to set aside the arrest order on January 27.
In his ruling on Feb­ruary 8, the judge dis­missed the application and renewed the war­rant of arrest.
But in a Notice of Ap­peal filed on his behalf by the law firms of Tayo Oyetibo (SAN) and Mr. Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, Tompolo insisted that the trial judge, should have ascertained that the respondent, the Eco­nomic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), complied with the order of the court for substituted service by posting the charge at the correct address con­tained in the order of the court.
Tompolo also said EFCC’s application upon which the order for his arrest was predi­cated was incompe­tent as the lawyer who signed it failed to affix his seal as required by law.
He urged the Court of Appeal to set aside the warrant for his arrest and nullify all subse­quent proceedings relat­ing to the charge.

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