Court orders Tompolo’s arrest; I’m not at war with Buhari & EFCC — CJN; Naira gets weaker; EFCC probes Plateau state ex-governor: EFCC slams 40-count charge on Tompolo, others . . .
Federal High Court orders Tompolo’s arrest
An official order from the Federal High Court in Abuja has been issued for the arrest of former Niger Delta militant, Government Epemupolo also known as Tompolo who is being investigated by the EFCC for allegedly fraudulently selling a land for N13 billion to the last administration for the construction of a Nigerian Maritime University (NMU).
Tompolo was in December last year invited by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for questioning but refused to honor their invitation claiming he was in court against the anti-graft agency.
The bank accounts of his companies, Mieka Divers Ltd and Global West Vessel Specialists Nigeria Ltd, used for the payment of the N13 billion has been frozen by the EFCC.
Tompolo, a former Niger Delta militant, had bank accounts belonging to him frozen by the EFCC. According to reports at the time, two companies linked to Tompolo, Mieka Divers Ltd and Global West Vessel Specialists Nigeria Ltd, had their accounts frozen by the EFCC because of their use in fraudulent exchanges.
Specifically, the EFCC wishes to question Tompolo about the illicit sale of N13 billion in land from him to the Federal Government. According to reports, the Federal Government wanted to construct the Nigerian Maritime University (NMU) and had diverted public funds through the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to the militant.
Mr. Tompolo is reportedly hiding in the Niger Delta creeks; he rejects any insinuation that the land deal was fraudulent asking EFCC to contact former President Goodluck Jonathan for clarification.
Dasukigate: I’m not at war with Buhari, EFCC over court orders — CJN
The Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, said, last night, that he was not at war with President Muhammadu Buhari or any agency of government over the purported non-compliance with court orders freeing suspects of the arms scandal who were granted bail by judges.
A top source in the judiciary told Vanguard, last night, that contrary to claims in certain quarters that the CJN was furious with Buhari for allowing EFCC to ignore court orders freeing the Dasukigate suspects, Mohammed had nothing to do with the issue.
The top official noted that though there were concerns among judges that some of their orders had not been carried out to the letter by some government agencies, there was also fury in the judiciary that many judges had aided and abetted top government officials to loot the treasury with impunity through frivolous orders and injunctions which were against the interest of the country and its people.
The senior official close to the CJN said: “I don’t think that the CJN has issued any statement on any court order relating to the investigation of the arms cash, individuals or groups since he believes that the courts are well able to discharge their duties as enshrined in the laws of Nigeria.
“Again, the thinking in the judiciary seems to be that some judges misused their offices to encourage some corrupt key government functionaries to slip away to foreign land with huge public funds under the guise of seeking avant-garde medicare.
“If the question may be asked, was it the CJN that ordered those judges to work against the interest of Nigeria by granting frivolous orders that enabled corrupt Nigerian public officers to make away with public funds?
“Let it be known that the CJN does not and will never encourage any form of misdeed having taken the oath of office to remain incorruptible, just and firm in the discharge of his duties to Nigeria and its people.
“I can tell you that the CJN is aware of the frivolous orders being issued by some judges and he cannot, therefore, sympathise with people who threw their integrity to the winds when they should have done the right thing at the right time.”
Yesterday, the media was awash with claims that the CJN had fallen out with Buhari over his refusal to obey court orders granting bail to some suspects implicated in the sharing of $2.1 billion meant for arms procurement.
In particular, the commentators said that the CJN was upset that the President had not released the former NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd), and the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, from detention after being granted bail by courts.
Naira gets weaker, sells at N305 to a dollar
The Naira, Wednesday, depreciated further to N305 per dollar as scarcity of dollars intensified in the parallel market.
From an average of N287 per dollar, Tuesday, the parallel market exchange rate rose to an average of N305 per dollar across the country.
Since Monday when the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) stopped the weekly dollar sales to Bureaux De Change (BDCs), the naira has been depreciating against the dollar.
BDC sources who confirmed the development to Vanguard however said that the exchange rate situation is uncertain as the rate changes from time to time.
Vanguard investigation revealed that though the exchange rate touched N305 in major cities like Lagos, Abuja and Kano, it dropped slightly to between N295 and N300 per dollar in Lagos and Abuja at the close of business, while it closed at N305 in Kano.
Chief Executive Officer, H.J Trust BDC, Mr. Harrison Owoh, told Vanguard that the market is fluid. “You cannot quote rate for anybody now because the rate is changing every time.”
An Abuja based BDC Operator who spoke to Vanguard on condition of anonymity said that the rate closed in Abuja at N298 but was above N300 during the day. He however said that it was difficult to quote any specific rate now as the situation is unpredictable. He opined that the rate would stabilised by next week, when the market would have absorbed the impact of the new CBN policy.
EFCC probes former Plateau governor, Mr. Jonah Jang
The former Governor of Plateau State, Mr. Jonah Jang, has been invited by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
It was gathered that the former governor was invited based on petitions by the Plateau State Government.
Earlier, the commission had quizzed some members of the immediate past government, including a former Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Davou Mang, and some key officers of the finance ministry.
Senior legislative aide to Senator Jonah Jang, Mrs. Olivia Dazyam, who confirmed the invitation, said that Jang will honour the invitation on Thursday (today).
Dazyam, in a statement in Wednesday, said that the former governor was invited by the EFCC to give further explanations on some perceived grey areas over which some former appointees of the governor had been invited by the EFCC.
She said there was no evidence to back the spurious allegations by some petitioners.
She said, “Senator Jonah David Jang feels it a point of duty to inform his teeming supporters and constituents of the Plateau-North senatorial district, Plateau State, of his invitation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
“This has become necessary owing to the fact that Sen. Jang owes it a duty, having meritoriously served as the governor of Plateau State for eight years, to clear any grey areas that may need further clarification in the course of his stewardship.
“As a two-time military governor and a democratically-elected governor for two terms of four years each, Sen. Jang will not create any encumbrances in order not to appear before the EFCC to give an account of his actions while in office.”
The statement said that Jang took oath of office to defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and “that was what he did as a governor and has continued to do as a senator.”
N34 Billion theft: EFCC slams 40-count charge on Tompolo, Akpobolokemi, others
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,EFCC, has moved to recover a whooping sum of N34 billion allegedly stolen by an ex-militant leader, High Chief Government Ekpemupolo (aka Tompolo), and the former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Dr. Patrick Akpobolokemi and nine others.
The said huge amount is said to have been the sum realised from a Private Public Partnership, which the former NIMASA DG entered into with a company, Global West Vessel Specialist Limited, said to be owned by Tompolo and others.
After initially arresting and detaining Akpobolokemi, EFCC has formally approached a Federal High Court to press 40 count charges against Tompolo, five other individuals and four companies said to have been used in stealing and diverting the said sum of N34 billion, which accrued to the PPP arrangement.
In all the suspects are being arraigned before a Federal High Court in Lagos for what EFCC listed as money laundering, conspiracy, stealing and diversion of public funds for their personal use.
A statement released in Abuja on Wednesday by the Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, listed the four individuals to be arraigned along with Tompolo and Akpobolokemi as Kime Engozu, Rex Elem, Gregory Mbonu and Captain Warredi Enisuoh.
According to Wilson, the four companies to be charged along with the others are: Global West Vessel Specialist Limited, Odimiri Electricals Limited, Boloboere Property and Estate Limited and Destre Consult Limited.
MM | Media24/7: Nigeria