Thursday, 27 April 2017

EFCC to court: Tompolo is a fugitive in law


The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Thursday asked the Federal High Court in Lagos to dismiss a rights enforcement suit filed against it and others by a wanted former Niger Delta militant, Chief Government Ekpemulopo, alias Tompolo.

Tompolo, who was declared wanted last February 12, is praying the court to protect him from prosecution for an alleged N45.9 billion fraud.

He sued the Inspector-General of Police, the Chief of Army Staff, the EFCC, the Chief of Naval Staff and the Chief of Air Staff.

EFCC’s lawyer, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, said Tompolo “is a fugitive in law”, and so, should not be allowed to seek redress in court until he submits himself for trial.

He argued that given the materials placed before the court, it was clear that Tompolo was in contempt of the order of Justice Ibrahim Buba, who had earlier compelled his attendance in court to answer to charges preferred against him.

Oyedepo described the application as an abuse of court process, since it was trite that a party who is in contempt of court cannot seek redress.

He urged the court to throw out the application for lacking in merit.

Oyedepo argued that in his originating processes, the applicant had in contradiction of his claims, annexed a copy of his notice of appeal which he signed personally.

He argued that if Tompolo was ignorant of the charge, he would not have hired a lawyer to file an appeal.

Oyedepo said the charge against the applicant bordered on fraud, in which billions of naira were lost by the Federal government.

He, therefore, urged the court to dismiss the application and award “heavy” cost against the applicant for abusing the court’s process.

Tompolo’s lawyer, Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, argued that in criminal law, service of a charge was personal and cannot be presumed, adding that there is no evidence before the court showing that the charge was served on the applicant. Adegboruwa said his client could not be cited for contempt, adding that since the beginning of the proceedings, the applicant could not be said to have breached any court’s order.

He argued that it is a constitutional right of the applicant to apply to court to enforce his right, adding that it cannot be waived.

Justice Mojisola Olatoregun fixed June 19 for judgment.

No comments:

Post a Comment