A court of appeal sitting in Lagos has upheld the decision of the federal high court ordering the seizure of property belonging to Government Ekpemupolo, an ex-militant commander better known as Tompolo.
On February 19, 2016, I. N. Buba, judge of the federal high court, Lagos, had ordered the seizure of the property by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The order followed Tompolo’s failure to appear in court over a case of alleged crime leveled against him.
The EFCC had, in 2015, instituted a criminal charge against Tompolo and nine others over allegations of fraud at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
The court had issued a warrant for Tompolo’s arrest over his failure to honour its summons.
After failing to effect Tompolo’s arrest, the commission, through its counsel – Festus Keyamo – sought the seizure of the said property, pending his arrest or appearance before the court.
The court granted the commission’s request after which Tompolo challenged the judgment at the court of appeal.
But at its sitting on Thursday, the appellate court held that the ex-militant’s request for reversal of the seizure order cannot be granted as he has is yet to respond to the summons against him.
The court held that the option available to Tompolo is to appear before the federal high court to apply for the order to be discharged, rather than filing an appeal.
It also ruled that Tompolo’s private right of property had not been breached by the seizure order.