Fresh N22.7bn charges: EFCC lines up 25 witnesses against Tompolo, others

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has filed fresh 22 charges against an ex-Niger Delta militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo, and 12 others.
The charges, which were filed on Friday at a Federal High Court in Lagos, bordered on stealing, advanced fee fraud and money laundering to the tune of N22,765,900,000.
The fresh charges were filed eight days after Justice Ibrahim Buba ordered the arrest of Tompolo for his failure to appear on January 14, 2016 to take his plea on a separate 40 counts of alleged N34bn fraud earlier filed against him and nine others by the EFCC.

In the fresh charges, which had yet to be assigned to any judge, the EFCC listed 25 witnesses that will testify against Tompolo and his 12 co-suspects when the trial begins.
Among the witnesses are seven EFCC investigators, officials of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, officials of the Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, and officials of the Bureau of Public Procurement.
Also to testify against the suspects are officials of four commercial banks including Access Bank, First Bank, Zenith Bank Plc and United Bank for Africa Plc.
Those to be arraigned alongside Tompolo in the fresh 22 counts is a former Director-General of NIMASA, Patrick Akpobolokemi, whose four brothers – Victor, Nobert, Emmanuel and Clement – who are still at large, were alleged to have aided the suspects to commit the fraud.
The other suspects are Kime Engozu, Josephine Otuaga, Rita Uruakpa and Pondi Kesti.

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