Wednesday, July 15, 2020 5:28 pm
Ex- Niger Delta agitation leader turned businessman, Government Ekpemupolo on Tuesday floored the Federal Government in a N34 billion fraud charge filed against Global West Vessel Specialist Ltd, a company linked to him.
Justice Ibrahim Buba of Federal High Court, Lagos dismissed the charges filed against the company by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Other defendants in the suit 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, who were all co-defendants were also dismissed.
Also charged in the suit filed in 2015 were Odimiri Electrical Ltd; Boloboere Property and Estate Ltd; and Destre Consult Ltd.
Tompolo was initially joined as the first defendant in the suit but his name was struck out after he failed to appear.
The other defendants had consequently filed a no-case submission, asking the court to dismiss the charge for lacking in merit.
In his ruling on Tuesday, Justice Buba held that the prosecution “failed to establish a prima facie case” against the defendants and dismissed the 40-count charge.
The EFCC had alleged that the defendants conspired to divert various sums running into over N34bn, belonging to NIMASA to their personal use.
The first count of the amended 40 counts reads: “That you, Government Ekpemupolo (alias Tompolo), Patrick Akpobolokemi and Global West Vessel Specialist Limited in 2012, in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did conspire amongst yourselves to commit an offence, to wit: conversion of the sum of N601, 516.13 and $1,766,428.62, property of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, knowing that the said sums were proceeds of stealing and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act.”