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Just In: Court Acquits Tompolo, Others Of N34bn Fraud

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The Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday dismissed the entire 40 counts bordering on alleged N34bn fraud filed by the Federal Government against Global West Vessel Specialist Limited, a company linked to a former Niger Delta militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo.

The other defendants in the case were a former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Patrick Akpolokemi, Kime Engozu, Rex Elem, Gregory Mbonu and Warredi Enisuoh.

Three other firms – Odimiri Electrical Limited; Boloboere Property and Estate Limited; and Destre Consult Limited – were also defendants in the criminal case filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in 2015.

READ ALSO: Obaseki, Ize-Iyamu’s Aides In Verbal War Over Alleged N20b Loan

Tompolo was initially joined as the first defendant in the case, but following his refusal to answer repeated court summonses, Mr Festus Keyamo (SAN), who handled the case for the EFCC, had to apply to the court that Tompolo’s name be removed from the charge sheet.

In a ruling on Wednesday on the defendants’ no-case submission, Justice Ibrahim Buba, pronounced that the prosecution “failed to establish a prima facie case” against the defendants.

He, therefore, dismissed the entire 40 counts filed against the defendants by the EFCC, through Keyamo, and set them free.

READ ALSO: N20b Loan: Group Protests, Rolls Out State’s Indebtedness

In the charges, the EFCC had accused the defendants of conspiring among themselves to divert various sums running into over N34bn, belonging to NIMASA to their personal use.

The EFCC said they acted contrary to Section 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and were liable to punishment under Section 15 (3) of the same Act.

The first count of the amended 40 counts read, “That you, Government Ekpemupolo (alias Tompolo), Patrick Akpobolokemi and Global West Vessel Specialist Limited in 2012, in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did conspire amongst yourselves to commit an offence, to wit: conversion of the sum of N601, 516.13 and $1,766,428.62, property of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, knowing that the said sums were proceeds of stealing and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act.”

READ ALSO: The Land Of Shameless Leaders (III)

The defendants had, during their arraignment four years ago, al

(PUNCH)

(PHOTO: File)

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Tinubu To Unveil Aba Power Plant Monday

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Barring any last-minute change in plan, President Bola Tinubu will on Monday, February 26, inaugurate the Aba-based Geometric Power Plant.

The President is also expected to inaugurate another set of three roads rehabilitated by the administration of Governor Alex Otti.

The roads are: Omoba, Jubilee and Queens Streets all in Aba.

READ ALSO: Father Dies Rescuing Son From Well In Kwara

In a press statement released on Saturday, the state Commissioner for Information and Culture, Okey Kanu said, “Unarguably, this is Mr President’s first commissioning of a road constructed by the current set of Governors in Nigeria. It equally marks the 9th road being commissioned in Aba since Dr Alex Otti took over the reign of power in the state eight months ago.

“This exercise is in addition to the commissioning of the Geometric Power Plant in Aba on Monday, February 26th by Mr. President; a power plant that will provide uninterrupted power supply to Aba and its environs.”

The statement enjoined citizens and Aba residents “to troop out en masse to witness the epoch-making events.”

Tinubu, in October 2023, approved more than 260 road repairs in the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

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INEC Releases 2023 General Elections Report

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The Independent National Electoral Commission has released the 2023 general elections report.

Its National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Sam Olumekun, disclosed this in a statement on Friday.

The report was released almost a year after the 2023 general elections.

Some Nigerians had expressed disappointment over the delayed uploads of the presidential election results to the INEC result viewing portal.

However, Olumekun said the election report was reviewed and approved for publication at the commission’s weekly meeting held on Thursday.

READ ALSO: CJN To Swear In New Supreme Court Justices Monday

He noted that the publication was done in keeping with the commission’s tradition over the last four electoral cycles, and its commitment to transparency.

Olumekun said the “comprehensive 526-page document, structured into 13 chapters and enhanced with 60 tables, 14 boxes, and 10 graphs, offered an in-depth analysis of the election’s key processes, achievements, and challenges, along with valuable lessons learned.”

Giving more insights, the national commissioner stated “The report showcases the election’s unparalleled diversity in party representation, demonstrating significant democratic progress.

“This election saw four political parties winning gubernatorial races, seven parties winning senatorial seats, eight in federal constituencies, and nine in state legislatures, illustrating a broad shift in political representation across Nigeria.

READ ALSO: Why Petroleum Tanker Drivers Called Off Strike — NARTO President

“The report underscores the pivotal role of technological advancements, particularly the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, in enhancing electoral integrity and reducing fraud.

“Furthermore, it addresses public concerns about the INEC Result Viewing portal, explaining the technical issues encountered during the upload of polling unit results for the presidential election.”

He added that other aspects covered in the report include logistics, security arrangements, staff recruitment and training, inclusivity measures, and the electoral framework,” he said.

Olumekun further stated that the commission would welcome feedback to inform future electoral reforms and improvements.

 

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CJN To Swear In New Supreme Court Justices Monday

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The newly-appointed 11 Justices of the Supreme Court will be sworn in on Monday, according to The PUNCH.

The justices are Jummai Sankey, Chidiebere Uwa, Chioma Nwosu-Iheme, Haruna Tsammani, Moore Adumein, Obande Ogbuinya, and Stephen Adah.

Others are Habeeb Abiru, Jamilu Yammama Tukur, Abubakar Sadiq Umar, and Mohammed Baba Idris

The National Assembly had on December 21, 2023, confirmed the elevation of the justices following President Bola Tinubu’s recommendation.

READ ALSO: Nursing Student Killed Self Over Unwanted Pregnancy

According to an invite sent to our correspondent on Friday, the Supreme Court’s Director of Information, Festus Akande, disclosed that the oath of office will be administered on the justices by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Olukayode Ariwoola.

He said, “The newly appointed 11 Justices of the Supreme Court will be sworn in by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola on Monday at 10.00 a.m. at the Main Courtroom of the Supreme Court.”

When the swearing-in of the elevated justices is done, the apex court will have the full complement of 21 justices, as stipulated by the Constitution

 

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