The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Thursday declared a former Niger Delta militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, wanted.
The anti-graft agency, in an advertorial signed by its Head of Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, said it decided to declare Tompolo wanted following two bench warrants issued against him by a Federal High Court in Lagos, where he has been charged with a N45.9bn fraud.
In the said advertorial, which carried a photograph of Tompolo, the EFCC described him as a 47-year-old, dark-complexioned man from Okerenkoko, Gbaramotu Kingdom in the Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State.
Tompolo, whose address was given as No. 1, Chief Agbanu Street, DDPA Extension, Warri, Delta State, speaks both Izon and English languages, according to EFCC.
The public announcement issued by Uwujaren read in part, “The general public is hereby notified that Government Ekpemupolo (a.k.a. Tompolo), whose photograph appears above, is wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in relation to the offence of conspiracy and illegal diversion of the sum of N34,000,000,000.00 and N11,900,000,000.00 belonging to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency.”
Justice Ibrahim Buba of a Federal High Court in Lagos had issued a bench warrant against Tompolo on January 14 after he shunned a summons dated January 12, 2016 issued by the judge to appear in connection with the fraud charges filed against him and nine others by EFCC.
Justice Buba had ordered the law enforcement agencies to produce Tompolo before him on February 8 for him to answer the charges, but rather than appear in court on January 8, Tompolo brought an application seeking to quash the bench warrant and arrest order.
The judge, who dismissed the application for lacking in merit, renewed the arrest warrant and directed all law enforcement agencies to produce Tompolo before him on February 19.
Tompolo’s lawyer, Mr. Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), after failing to get the bench warrant vacated, turn down the responsibility of undertaking to produce his client in court.
Oyetibo said it was the responsibility of the prosecution to produce the suspect in court.
The EFCC filed 40 counts against Tompolo and nine others, including the immediate-past Director-General of NIMASA, Patrick Akpobolokemi.