N13b Land Scam: EFCC’s Alleged Trial Of Tompolo In Absentia, Invitation To Anarchy – Ijaw Group
The purported trial in absentia of former militant leader, Chief Government Ekpemupolo alias Tompolo by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has been condemned by the Ijaw People Development Initiative, IPDI, which described the process as void and an invitation to anarchy.
Tompolo, a title holder in Gbaramatu Kingdom of Warri South-West Local Government Area, Delta State, featured prominently in the EFCC’s probe of fraudulent sale of land to the federal government for the Niger Delta Maritime University to the tune of N13 billion.
The EFCC had threatened to declare the former militant leader wanted if he fails to turn himself in for interrogation, a threat Tompolo dismissed, vowing not to honour any invitation by the anti-graft agency until the court case he instituted against the commission is concluded.
While the elders and people of Okerenkoko community in Warri South-West LGA where the land for the university is located, supported the probe of Tompolo, the IPDI accused the EFCC of acting out a political script.
In a statement yesterday in Warri, Delta State, by Austin Ozobo, its National President, the IPDI said that the trial was null and void as no law gives credence to prosecuting anybody in absentia as no criminal proceedings can go on without arrest.
According to the group, “Tompolo’s trial is tricky and dicey. It has no precedence and there is a lacuna in the judicial system. EFCC goofed as arraignment of someone in absentia is not a known practice in law.
“EFCC is acting on illegality and playing a political script, and as such it is an abuse of court processes and invitation to anarchy. Even in an instance of conspiracy, and one was arrested, the court cannot punish the arrested accused person in crimes committed by the escapee because offences are not transferrabe.
“There is no provision in our laws or court rules that allows a person to be tried in absentia”.