A Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered the arrest of former Niger Delta militant leader Government Ekpemupolo, a.k.a. Tompolo on theft and money laundering charges totaling more than $175 million, Vanguard reports.
“A warrant of arrest has been issued forthwith to compel his attendance in court,” judge Ibrahim Buba, sitting at the Federal High Court in Lagos, said in response to a prosecution request.
Tompolo’s arrest followed his refusal to respond to invitations to appear before the court on Thursday, January 14, to answer a 40-count of alleged N13bn fraud levelled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
According to the judge, the process of compelling a defendant to appear before a court is to first serve him a summon.
“When he fails to appear, the other way to compel his compliance is by way of arrest,” said Mr. Buba.
“The court is in the position to order the warrant for the arrest of Mr. Government Ekpemupolo, also known as Tompolo, and shall be issued forthwith,” he said.
Those affected by the order were ex-NIMASA Director-General, Mr. Patrick Ziakede Akpobolokemi, Tompolo’s company, Global West Vessel Specialist Limited, Odimixi Electricals Limited, Kime Engozu, Boloboere Property and Estate Limited, Rex Elem, Destre Consult Limited, Gregory Mbonu and Captain Warredi Enisuoh.
While all his co-accused, were present in court, only Tompolo failed to appear.
The 40-count charge include the conversion of N601, 516.13 and $1, 766, 428.62, property of NIMASA, into private concerns; conversion of NIMASA’s N27,690,113.79 and $17, 491, 378.64, as well as another N27, 690,113.79 and $17, 491, 378.64, belonging to the agency to personal use, an offence contrary to section 15 (1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act 2012 and punishable under section 15(3) of the same Act.
The order, which was granted in Charge No: FHC/L/553c/2015, was sequel to a motion ex-parte brought by the EFCC.