The Court of Appeal in Lagos today dismissed the appeal brought by Government Ekpemupolo alias Tompolo against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over the Bench Warrant issued against him by Justice Buba of the Federal High Court in Lagos.
It will be recalled that on 15 December, 2015 the EFCC instituted a Criminal Charge against Tompolo and 9 others. The Commission, through its counsel Festus Keyamo, could not serve Tompolo personally with the summons. On January 12, 2016 Keyamo applied and obtained an order for substituted service of the said summons by pasting same on Tompolo’s last known address at No. 1 Agbanu DDPA Extension Warri, Delta State.
However, despite the substituted service of same on Tompolo, he refused, neglected and failed to appear in court in response to the Summons. Consequently on January 14, 2016 Justice Buba issued a Warrant for the arrest of Tompolo pursuant to Section 131 of the Administration of Criminal justice Act 2015.
Tompolo thereafter filed a Motion on Notice dated the 27th day of January, 2016 seeking the following reliefs: an order of court setting aside its order of 12th January, 2016 for issuance of Summons to compel the appearance of the defendant; an order setting aside Charge No: FHC/L/553C/15 and service of summons to compel the appearance of the defendant and, an order setting aside the Warrant for the arrest of the defendant issued on 14 January, 2016.
After arguments, Justice Buba dismissed Tompolo’s motion. Dissatisfied, Tompolo appealed the dismissal of his motion.
In its judgment today, the Court of Appeal agreed with the Commission that Tompolo had been properly served with the summons and saw no reason to set aside the Bench Warrant still subsisting against him. The Court unanimously held that Tompolo’s appeal is devoid of any merit and thereby dismissed it. The Court upheld the decision of Justice Buba to issue a Bench Warrant against Tompolo.