THE proposed judgement that was supposed to be delivered by a Federal High Court in a fundamental rights suit filed by Chief Government Ekpemulopo, alias Tompolo, seeking the court’s protection from the EFCC has been adjourned till July 14.
Tompolo, who was declared wanted by the EFCC since February 12, 2016 is seeking court’s protection against prosecution over an alleged N45.9 billion fraud.
Joined as respondents in the fundamental rights suit are the Inspector-General of Police, the Chief of Army Staff, the EFCC, the Chief of Naval Staff and the Chief of Air Staff.
The case which was earlier slated for judgment, was on Monday re-slated for July 14, following the absence of the trial judge, Justice Mojisola Olatoregun, who is said to be attending a workshop.
The EFCC had filed a 40-count charge against Tompolo and nine others before Justice Ibrahim Buba of the same court.
Following the absence of Tompolo in court, Justice Buba had issued a bench warrant for his arrest and production in court.
The court had also on February 19, 2014, ordered a forfeiture of property belonging to Tompolo after an application was moved to that effect by the EFCC.
Justice Buba had held that the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 empowers the court to seize properties of an accused who refused to face trial.
The court recalled that though Tompolo refused to appear in court, he briefed his lawyers and through them sought to vacate the order for his arrest.
Consequently, he ordered forfeiture of properties belonging to Tompolo pending when he appears in court.
Properties affected by the forfeiture order included a River Crew Change Boat named MUHA – 15, the property known as “Tompolo Dockyard”, and the property known as “Tompolo Yard”, at the end of Chevron Clinic Road, next to Next Oil, Edjeba, Warri.
Others are the Diving School at Kurutie at Escravos River, the property known as “Tompolo House” at Oporaza Town, and any other property discovered by the EFCC moveable and immovable.
Tompolo is seeking an order restraining the respondents from further proceeding with the charges slammed on him.
Tompolo contends that Sections 221 and 306 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 which prohibit him from seeking a stay of proceedings in his trial infringed on his constitutional rights to fair hearing.
Tompolo also wants the court not to only nullify Sections 221 and 306 of the ACJA but to also restrain the respondents from invoking the sections of the law against him.
He insists that Sections 221 and 306 were in conflict with Section 36 of the Constitution which guarantees his right to fair hearing.
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