TOMPOLO

Ex-Niger Delta militant, Government Ekpemupolo, alias `Tompolo’’, has filed an application asking a Federal High Court in Lagos to stop the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) from charging him with an alleged N12 billion fraud.
The EFCC had instituted before Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court a 40-count charge of alleged fraud against Tompolo
Charged along with him are Patrick Akpobolokemi, Global West Vessel, Odimiri Electrical Ltd, Kime Engozu. Boloboere Ltd, Rex Elem, Destre Ltd, Gregory Mbonu and Capt Warrendi Enisuoh.
While the trial judge, on Jan. 14, issued a warrant for Tompolo’s arrest for his failure to appear in court to answer to the criminal charges, the defendant, however, on Jan. 27, filed an application to set aside the said warrant of arrest.
Buba on Feb. 8 dismissed Tompolo’s application after his counsel, Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa and his EFCC counterpart had argued the said application.
But Adegboruwa had on March 3, appealed Buba’s ruling and sought a change of the trial judge, who had renewed his order for Tompolo’s arrest
Meanwhile, on Friday, Tompolo again filed a fresh application at the Federal High Court, urging it to issue an order halting his trial.
Among other prayers being sought include the nullification of certain sections of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, which he said affected his constitutional rights
The respondents in the new suit are: The Attorney-General of the Federation, The EFCC, the Inspector-General of Police, the Chief of Army Staff, the Chief of Naval Staff and the Chief of Air Staff.
Tompolo is contending that Sections 221 and 306 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act are invalid and unconstitutional, in so far as they seek to prevent the court from exercising jurisdiction to hear objections to a criminal charge.
In the new suit with No. FHC/L/CS/499/2016, Tompolo is seeking the following reliefs, from the Court:
“A declaration that Section 221 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, is void to the extent that it seeks to be an absolute bar to any objection to a criminal charge or information, already filed, especially Charge No. FHC/L/553C/2015.
“A declaration that Section 306 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 is void to the extent that it seeks to be an absolute bar to an application for a stay of proceedings pending appeal to a higher court, in relation to a criminal charge.
“A declaration that the respondents are not entitled to rely upon Sections 221 and 306 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 in the prosecution of any criminal charge or information, already filed, especially Charge No. FHC/L/553C/2015.
“A declaration that the respondents are not entitled to file, initiate, prosecute or in any other manner pursue any criminal charge or information, against the applicant, in any manner that will constitute a flagrant violation of his right to fair hearing.
“An injunction restraining the respondents whether by themselves or by their servants, agents or privies, from filing or further filing, prosecuting or further prosecuting, any criminal charge or information against the applicant.’’
Tompolo also seeks an order nullifying, voiding, striking down and expunging sections 221 and 306 from the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 to the extent of their inconsistency with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.
No date has been fixed for the new case. (NAN)


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