EFCC denies detaining Tompolo aide

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Headquarters has stated that it is unaware of the alleged detention of Warredi Enisuoh, Executive Director of Operations and Technical, Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited.

In a document obtained by our correspondent on Saturday, the private security firm headed by ex-militant leader Government Ekpemupolo, also known as Tompolo, claimed that the EFCC arrested and detained Enisuoh for refusing to reveal his intelligence sources to the anti-graft agency.

It also claimed that some powerful forces in the country are hiding behind EFCC operatives in order to use the commission to scuttle the increased action against oil theft, and that the EFCC invitation came in the midst of an ongoing operation to uncover one of the country's largest oil stealing cartels.

"Tantita has been in the news for the incredible progress being made in restoring Nigeria's pride of place as Africa's leading oil producer," it said. However, efforts are currently underway to suffocate Tantita's operations.

"On January 19, 2023, Enisuoh was summoned and detained by the EFCC. Since then, he has been detained by the EFCC. All efforts to secure his release have been futile, as the commission has insisted that he not be released unless he provides a list of names of intelligence sources.

"The EFCC's invitation came right in the middle of an ongoing operation to dismantle one of the country's largest oil stealing cartels. Enisuoh, our ED Operations and Technical Officer, flew directly from Port Harcourt (where he was coordinating operations) to Lagos to respond to 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 know what is happening in their name."

According to the company, Enisuoh won three of four cases against the anti-graft agency, and he obtained a judgment of the Court of Appeal CA/L/1320/2016 delivered on November 25, 2017 to gain access to his bank accounts that had been frozen by the EFCC.

The EFCC also invited Enisuoh and asked him how he gained access to the accounts in September 2022, one month after Tantita began operations.

"Sometimes in 2015/2016, the EFCC opened four cases against Enisuoh and several others," it said. Three of the four have been resolved, all in favor of Enisuoh.

"The last one is currently being heard before Justice Faji of the Federal High Court in Lagos. Prior to the filing of these cases, the EFCC directed that all of Enisuoh's bank accounts be frozen.

"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 filed an appeal with the Court of Appeal, which overturned the second judge's decision and reinstated the first judge's orders. Based on the Court of Appeal's decision in CA/L/1320/2016, delivered on November 25, 2017, the banks granted Enisuoh access to his accounts. The EFCC, which was the first respondent in that case before the Court of Appeal, 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 any further statements on an ongoing legal matter.

"The same Oyedepo whose wife joined the NIMASA Search and Rescue Clinic at the same time he was leading the investigation and prosecution of 'criminals' at NIMASA.

"Perhaps it was all a coincidence. It's no coincidence that the EFCC is asking Enisuoh to name his intelligence sources in the midst of the largest investigation of a ship-owning oil-stealing cartel.

"Despite all of the documents previously provided to the EFCC, the EFCC invited Enisuoh and detained him on Thursday, January 19, 2023. Their position was that Oyedepo had read the Court of Appeal's decision and did not agree with it because he believed the court was incorrect, 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 resolved the issue without complaint from the EFCC.

"In a democracy, the most dangerous entity is a law enforcement agency that has no regard for the rule of law. Such an organization is vulnerable to institutional capture and can be used as a tool by those seeking to destroy the nation.

"According to Mr. Aminu, in the opinion of Oyedepo, Enisuoh should have come to beg the EFCC to allow him to access his accounts after obtaining judgment at the Court of Appeal, and his failure to do so was criminal," he said.

"According to Oyedepo, a judgment takes effect when the EFCC becomes aware of it, and because Enisuoh did not notify the EFCC before accessing 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. He did, however, point out that, in addition to the fact that the case was currently being tried in court, the individuals involved were intelligence assets who provided valuable intelligence and needed to be protected.

"In addition, some of these people are still providing intelligence in our ongoing operations at Tantita. Not only will compromising their details blow their cover, but it will also interfere with the ongoing war against oil thieves. As a result, the EFCC refused to release him, citing his lack of cooperation."

When contacted by our correspondent, EFCC spokesperson Wilson Uwujaren stated that he was unaware of Enisuoh's arrest.

"I'm not sure what you're talking about," Uwujaren said. I'm not aware of any such thing."

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