Justice E. A. Obile of the Federal High Court, Warri Division, Delta State, on Tuesday, April 25, 2017 struck out the last of the three cases instituted by a former Niger Delta militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo (also known as Tompolo) and others against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
In the suit, FHC/WR/CS/172/2015, the applicants among other reliefs prayed the court for an order restraining EFCC from declaring Keston Pondi, a director in Tompolo’s company wanted and also for an order nullifying letters of invitation extended to Pondi by the anti-graft agency. The applicants further prayed the court to order EFCC to direct all enquiries regarding the matter being investigated by the agency in writing to Pondi, while he is to provide written responses.
The case was, however, struck out for lack of diligent prosecution by the applicants. This is because the case was abandoned after a sister case with similar facts involving Tompolo (Suit No: FHC/WR/CS/171/2015) had been struck out based on the preliminary objection filed by the Commission.
It will be recalled that Justice Obile had earlier on Thursday, April 13, 2017 dismissed a case, suit No: FHC/WR/CS/171/2015, by Tompolo against the EFCC and its former head of operation, Lagos Office, Iliyasu Kwarbai, following the preliminary objection by the Commission.
Tompolo had by the said suit sought for an order restraining the EFCC from declaring him wanted and also for an order nullifying the letters of invitation extended to him by the Commission. He further prayed the court to order the EFCC to direct all enquiries to him in writing, while he provides written responses.
In a similar fashion, Justice Obile had earlier on December 15, 2017 upheld a preliminary objection by the EFCC in striking out a case, suit No: FHC/W/CS/152/2015, against Commission by a company purportedly owned by Tompolo, Mieka Dive Limited.
Tompolo had in that suit invited the court to declare the freezing of his company accounts (Mieka Dive) as unlawful, illegal and a violation of his fundamental rights to ownership and possession of property in Nigeria. The applicants also requested the court to unfreeze the said accounts and make an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Commission from further freezing, confiscating and/or depriving the applicants’ access to the funds in the accounts, while asking for a cost of N100million as damages against the Commission.
The court in upholding the preliminary objection, held that the EFCC cannot be restrained from performing its statutory duties and that the applicants cannot use the court as a shield in evading investigation and possible prosecution.