Appeal Court dismisses Tompolo's appeal, okays his arrest

Appeal Court dismisses Tompolo's appeal, okays his arrest

- Appeal Court dismissed Tompolo's appeal against bench warrant arrest issued against him by federal high court

- Tompolo failed to appear in court in response to the Summons and rather filed an appeal

- He is facing charges for a multi-billion naira fraud involving land contracts for the construction of a Nigerian Maritime University

The Lagos Court of Appeal had dismissed the appeal against Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by former Niger Delta militant, Government Ekpemukolo, aka Tompolo, over the bench warrant against him.

The initial bench warrant was issued against Tompolo by Justice Buba of the Federal High Court in Lagos.

It will be recalled that on December 15, 2015, the EFCC instituted a criminal charge against Tompolo and 9 others.

The Commission, through its counsel Festus Keyamo, could not serve Tompolo personally with the summons.

On January 12, 2016 Keyamo applied and obtained an order for substituted service of the said summons by pasting same on Tompolo's last known address at No. 1 Agbanu DDPA Extension Warri, Delta state.

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However, despite the substituted service of same on Tompolo, he refused, neglected and failed to appear in court in response to the Summons.

Consequently on January 14, 2016 Justice Buba issued a Warrant for the arrest of Tompolo pursuant to Section 131 of the Administration of Criminal justice Act 2015.

Tompolo thereafter filed a Motion on Notice dated the 27th day of January, 2016 seeking the following reliefs: an order of court setting aside its order of 12th January, 2016 for issuance of Summons to compel the appearance of the defendant; an order setting aside Charge No: FHC/L/553C/15 and service of summons to compel the appearance of the defendant and, an order setting aside the Warrant for the arrest of the defendant issued on 14 January, 2016.

After arguments, Justice Buba dismissed Tompolo's motion. Dissatisfied, Tompolo appealed the dismissal of his motion.

In its judgment today, the Court of Appeal agreed with the Commission that Tompolo had been properly served with the summons and saw no reason to set aside the Bench Warrant still subsisting against him.

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The court unanimously held that Tompolo's appeal is devoid of any merit and thereby dismissed it. The court upheld the decision of Justice Buba to issue a Bench Warrant against Tompolo.

Tompolo is facing charges of N45.9 billion fraud preferred against him and nine others by the anti-graft agency and has been in hiding since then.

Meanwhile, Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to seize the assets belonging to Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo.

The judge gave this order on Thursday, May 12 asking the EFCC to take charge of the assets if Tompolo fails to make an appearance in three months.

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