Embattled leader of the defunct Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Chief Government Ekpemupolo, alias “Tompolo”, says he has not appeared in court on the alleged N34 billion fraud charges leveled against him because he has no case to answer.
Tompolo, in an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, also blamed his absence from the law court on personal witch-hunt of him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), its lawyer Festus Keyamo and some ex-Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members, who defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The ex-militant leader specifically accused former Bayelsa Governor and APC Governorship candidate in the last gubernatorial poll, Timipre Sylva of being after him.
“The truth of the matter is that I do not know anything about the N34 billion Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is talking about. First, it was N13 billion issue, now it is N34 billion.
“I am not a signatory to any of the companies mentioned in the said N34 billion case, so I do not know where this one is coming from. I know that God in His infinite mercy will see me through in this critical moment,” Tompolo stated.
The letter made available by his media aide, Comrade Paul Bebenimbo, accused the EFCC and its team of lawyers of using the case for personal vendetta against him. He also alleged that APC leaders are behind the destruction of oil facilities in Delta State, which he is also accused as mastermind.
His words: “They (APC members) are the ones carrying out the act to smear my name. They are doing this in connivance with the EFCC lawyer, who is also a member of your party, who is in the forefront of prosecuting me because I refused to buy a property from him.
“As for the EFCC lawyer, he approached me some years back that I should come to Abuja and Lagos to buy some choice property worth billions of naira from him. I told him that I do not have such money to buy property.
“Since then he has been looking for any opportunity to drag me into matters I do not know anything about. And this is one of the reasons why I have not appeared in the court because he is not qualified to prosecute me,” Tompolo claimed.
On the ex-governor, Tompolo claimed: “I wish to inform you that it has come to my knowledge that the leader of your party and governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa and a few young men from Warri South West council of Delta State, who joined the party from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) after the 2015 presidential election, are bent on linking me to the renewed vandalism of oil facilities in the Niger Delta, whereas they are the ones carrying out the act to smear my name. They are doing this in connivance with the EFCC lawyer.
“The leader of your party in Bayelsa State approached me shortly after my meeting with you in Abuja that I should accompany him to meet you and plead for him to be appointed special adviser (SA) and chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, which I refused to do because of his antecedents, as an unreliable and trustworthy person.
“It was thereafter he forced his way into the governorship election of the state, which almost tore the state apart with violence, beginning with the party primary in which he demonstrated a high level of desperation as was recounted by the Chairman of the committee and Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
“As for members of the party from my local government area, Warri South-West, they have been involved in illegal bunkering and oil theft activities over the years, which I have been fighting against because of my love for the country. They know me as a no-nonsense person. There is this one from Gbaramatu kingdom with me that has sworn to kill me because I refused to manipulate the ascension to our traditional stool in his favour when he was not even qualified for it. And so, he looks for any opportunity to deal with me.’’
By Olisemeka Obeche