Government Ekpemupolo, ex-militant leader better known as Tompolo, says he is yet to honour the invitation of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) because he does not want to be arraigned before a biased judge.
Tompolo, who is being investigated for alleged fraudulent deals he had with the Nigerian Maritime Safety Agency (NIMASA), maintained innocence.
Accusing the federal government of flouting court orders with impunity, Tompolo said no one should be above the law, and promised to honour the invitation of the anti-graft agency.
“He will appear before the EFCC but the court case he has with them has to be settled before he will honour the invitation,” Paul Bebenibo, Tompolo’s spokesman, told TheCable.
“Be that as it may, adherence to constitutionalism and the rule of law should not be on one part. There have been so many court pronouncements which the government and its agencies have refused to obey.
“The federal government should also respect the rule of law. Imagine the president saying that some persons should be kept in custody when the court asked that they should be freed. It doesn’t work. Tompolo will certainly appear because there is no misdeed on his part as far as the transactions with the federal government and NIMASA are concerned.As I speak to you now, his lawyers are working to sort that out.
“There is no misdeed on the part of Tompolo as far as this issue that he is having with the EFCC is concerned. He was actually the backbone of NIMASA in recovering the levies, taxes and so on, since he has interest in Global West Vessel Company, which does the job for NIMASA.
“So, if there is any financial issue that has got to do with NIMASA, Global West and Tompolo, he is very innocent. His records in ensuring that the public-private partnership which Global West had with NIMASA worked out for good are out known.
“So, one needs to be careful in order not to appear before just any court. Tompolo would not allow himself to be ridiculed, never.
He would not appear before just any judge that would not be able to give effective judgment. Not a judge that would make pronouncement that would tie his hands, he won’t appear before such judge.
” Bebenibo maintained that the ex-militant leader know nothing about the recent attack on oil installations in the Niger Delta, saying the EFCC should give Tompolo more time to honour its summons.
“Tompolo would not condescend so low to attack oil installations because he is being invited by the EFCC,” he said.
“It is a non-issue. Afterall, he is in court with the EFCC. He went to court two months after the EFCC froze his account without any court mandate. He challenged them in court and the EFCC invited him after that, so Tompolo is not afraid of appearing before EFCC. He will certainly appear but he should be given more time.”
Reacting to rumours that Tompolo has fled the country, Bebenibo said: “Flee to where? Tompolo has not left this country before. Since he accepted the amnesty offer of the late President Musa Yar’Adua, he has remained in this country. He cannot go through the backdoor.”