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Nigerian govt loses fraud case against Tompolo

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Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court, Lagos, on Wednesday dismissed the fraud charges filed by the Federal Government against Global West Vessel Specialist Limited, a company linked to a former Niger Delta militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, a.k.a Tompolo.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had in 2015 arraigned the company and eight others on a 40-count charge of N34billion fraud.

Other defendants were a former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpolokemi, Kime Engozu, Rex Elem, Gregory Mbonu, and Warredi Enisuoh.

Three other firms – Odimiri Electrical Limited; Boloboere Property and Estate Limited; and Destre Consult Limited – were also defendants in the case.

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The commission alleged that the defendants conspired among themselves to divert various sums running into over N34billion belonging to NIMASA, to their personal use.

The EFCC initially joined the ex-militant leader as first defendant in the case, but after he refused to honour court summons, the then EFCC counsel, Festus Keyamo (SAN), applied to the court to remove his name from the charge sheet.

In his ruling on the defendants’ no-case submission, Justice Buba declared that prosecution “failed to establish a prima facie case” against the defendants.

He dismissed the entire charges against the defendants and set them free.

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