Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Headquarters has said it has no knowledge of the alleged detention of the Executive Director of Operations and Technical, Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited, Warredi Enisuoh.
The private security company headed by ex-militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, also known as Tompolo, alleged in a document obtained by our correspondent on Saturday that the EFCC arrested and detained Enisuoh over his refusal to reveal his intelligence sources to the anti-graft agency.
It further alleged that some powerful forces in the country are hiding behind operatives of the EFCC to use the commission to scuttle the intensified action against oil theft, adding that the EFCC invitation came in the middle of an ongoing operation to uncover one of the biggest oil stealing cartels in the country.
It said, “Tantita has been in the news for the amazing progress being made in returning Nigeria to pride of place as the leading oil producer in Africa. However, as we speak, efforts are being made to strangulate Tantita’s operations.
“On January 19, 2023, Enisuoh was invited by the EFCC and detained. He has been in EFCC custody since. All efforts to ensure his release has proved abortive, as the commission has insisted that unless he provides a list of names who were his intelligence sources he would not be released.
“The EFCC’s invitation came right in the middle of an ongoing operation to unravel one of the biggest oil stealing cartel in this country. Enisuoh, our ED Operations and Technical flew straight from Port Harcourt (where he was coordinating the operations) to Lagos to heed the EFCC’s invitation and walked right into a trap.
“While Tantita is determined to carry on the fight against the oil thieves regardless, it is our position that the EFCC investigation, if genuine, can be carried out with minimal interference to the war on oil thieves and if not, it is clearly being used by powerful forces to scuttle the war on oil thieves. Let Nigerians be aware of what is being done in their name.”
The company explained that Enisuoh had won three of four cases against the anti-graft agency, adding that he got a judgment of the Court of Appeal CA/L/1320/2016 delivered on November 25, 2017 to access his bank accounts which were frozen by the EFCC.
It added that in September 2022, one month after Tantita began operations, the EFCC invited Enisuoh and asked him how he gained access to the accounts.
It said, “Sometimes in 2015/2016, the EFCC commenced four cases against Enisuoh and several others. Of the four, three have been concluded, all in favour of Enisuoh.
“The last one is presently ongoing before Justice Faji of the Federal High Court, Lagos. Before these cases were instituted, the EFCC issued orders to various banks to block all Enisuoh’s bank accounts.
“He challenged this administrative order in court on the basis that the EFCC has no power to freeze accounts without a court order, and the Federal High Court lifted the freezing orders.
“The banks failed to comply, so he (Enisuoh) brought contempt proceedings against them, somehow the new judge handling the contempt proceedings froze the accounts again. Enisuoh appealed to the Court of Appeal who overturned the second judge and restored the orders of the first judge. Based on that judgment of the Court of Appeal in CA/L/1320/2016 delivered on November 25, 2017, the banks allowed Enisuoh access to his accounts. The EFCC which was the first respondent before the Court of Appeal in that case never appealed the judgment.
“Then in September 2022, one month after Tantita began operations, the EFCC invited Enisuoh and asked him how he gained access to the accounts.
“He showed them certified true copies of the judgment of the Court of Appeal, they also asked him to make statements, which he did and pointed out that the questions bordered on the ongoing trial before the Federal High Court, Lagos, the investigating team led by Mr. Lawal Aminu claimed to be unaware of the case, so he provided a certified true copy of the charge and pointed out that the prosecution was being led by Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, a staff of the EFCC. He declined to make further statements on a matter sub judice.
“The same Oyedepo whose wife became a staff of Search and Rescue Clinic of NIMASA at the very time he was leading investigation and prosecution of ‘criminals’ at NIMASA.
“Maybe it was all coincidence. Just the way it is coincidence that in the middle of the biggest investigation of a ship owning oil stealing cartel, the EFCC is asking Enisuoh to name his intelligence sources.
“Inspite of all the documents earlier provided to EFCC, on Thursday, January 19, 2023, the EFCC again invited Enisuoh and detained him. Their position was that Oyedepo, had read the judgment of the Court of Appeal and he did not agree with the decision of the court as he believes that the court was wrong and as such Enisuoh should refund the money withdrawn from his accounts or he would rot in jail – five years after the Court of Appeal settled the issue, without complain from the EFCC.
“The most dangerous entity in a democracy is a law enforcement agency that has no regards for the rule of law. Such an organization is open to institutional capture and to being used as a tool in the hands of those seeking to destroy the nation.
“According to Mr. Aminu, in the opinion of Oyedepo, Enisuoh after obtaining judgment at the Court of Appeal should have come to beg the EFCC to permit him to access his accounts and his failure to do so was criminal.
“According to Oyedepo, it is when the EFCC becomes aware of a judgment that it takes effect and since the EFCC was not informed by Enisuoh before he accessed his accounts he is guilty of interfering with the subject matter of investigation
“The charge which they intend to prefer on Monday, January 23, 2023 is on this trumped up allegation that the EFCC has detained Enisuoh for more than the 24 hours constitutionally allowed.
“Initially the EFCC dangled bail before Enisuoh on the condition he divulged the names of persons who were paid out of the accounts. But he pointed out that in addition to the fact that the matter was presently undergoing trial in court, the persons concerned were intelligence assets who provided valuable intelligence and need to be protected.
“Moreover, some of these people are still providing intelligence in our ongoing operations at Tantita. Compromising their details will not only blow their cover but interfere with the ongoing war against oil thieves. For this reason, the EFCC refused to release him, claiming that he was uncooperative.”
When contacted by our correspondent, the spokesperson for the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, said he was unaware of Enisuoh’s arrest.
Uwujaren said, “I don’t know about what you’re talking about. I’m unaware of such.” (PUNCH)
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