A Federal High Court in Lagos has granted the order for the seizure of all the listed properties of former Niger Delta militant leader Government Ekpemupolo, also known as Tompolo.
At the resumed hearing Friday, the trial Judge, Justice Ibrahim Buba granted the request of the prosecution lawyer, Festus Keyamo to freeze the assets of Tompolo for his continued refusal to appear before the court to answer charges of fraud preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The anti-graft agency had on Thursday filed an ex-parte motion through Keyamo for the seizure of the said properties belonging to the former militant leader.
Justice Buba while ruling on the motion authorized the EFCC to take over the properties pending when Tompolo will make himself available to answer the charges preferred against him and nine others including the former Director General of NIMASA, Patrick Akpobolokemi.
The judge added that if Tompolo failed to appear within three months of the order, the Federal Government may proceed to auction the said properties.
Earlier, Counsel to the EFCC had announced that it would serve the course of justice.
He said combined team of Nigerian police and Military Personnel had been combing the creeks to locate the former warlord without success.
“We wish to inform the court that the warrant of arrest that this court issued in respect of the first defendant (Ekpemupolo) has not been executed despite the best efforts of all the security agents in this country,” Keyamo told the Judge on Friday.
“Every security agent in this country is involved in the search for the first defendant. What is unfolding is something that has never been seen before in this country for a very long time.”
The Judge had issued a warrant for the arrest of Tompolo on February 8 after he shunned repeated invitations to appear before the EFCC for questioning. Unable to locate him, EFCC also declared the ex-militant wanted last week
At Thursday hearing, Counsel to EFCC had sought the order of the court for seizure of all known Tompolo’s assets.
The assets listed include property at No. 1 Chief Agbamu Close DDPA Extension Warri (Effurun), Delta State; all properties of Muhaabix Global Services Ltd; a River Crew Change Boat named MUHA – 15; the property known as “Tompolo Dockyard”, by the end of Enerhen Road, Effurun, Warri.
Others are a property known as “Tompolo Yard”, at the end of Chevron Clinic Road, next to Next Oil, Edjeba, Warri; the Diving School at Kurutie, at Escravos River; the property known as “Tompolo House” at Oporaza Town, opposite the Palace; and any other property discovered by the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission, moveable and immoveable, belonging to the first accused person.
According to Keyamo, thie application was to further secure the attendance of the first accused person. “The law says that the court can order the confiscation of his properties until he appears,” Keyamo said.
“Any third party can bring an application later, but we have intelligence reports that those properties and companies belong to the first accused person.
“If he fails to appear within three months, the federal government will auction off all the assets.”
Tompolo and Patrick Akpobolokemi, the former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, are accused of a multibillion naira fraud at the agency.
Others charged alongside them are Global West Vessel Specialist Ltd, Odimiri Electrical Ltd, Kime Engozu, Boloboere Property and Estate Ltd, Rex Elem, Destre Consult Ltd, Gregory Mbonu, and Captain Warredi Enisuoh.
The case has been adjourned till March 22.